NAIROBI - 24 th April 2018, The complex nature of transnational organized crime, terrorism, genocide and crimes against humanity, and the fast-evolving tracking technologies require regular specialized training to ensure that law enforcement officers acquire the most up-to-date and advanced tracking skills. It also requires effective international cooperation in criminal matters, including mutual legal assistance, extradition as well as joint investigations, joint operations and sharing of intelligence. Accordingly, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), together with the Office of the Prosecutor of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (UNMICT) and INTERPOL, recently presented a regional Training Workshop on Proactive Fugitive Tracking in Eastern Africa from 24-26 April 2018 at the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON) in Nairobi, Kenya.

The 3-day training was funded by the Kingdom of Norway and opened by Serge Brammertz, UNMICT Chief Prosecutor, and Amado de Andrés, UNODC Regional Representative for Eastern Africa. The purpose of the workshops was to provide Eastern African law enforcement officials and investigators from the UNMICT with training on addressing practical issues that commonly feature in investigating and tracking fugitives wanted for terrorism, transnational organised crimes, genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Countries in Eastern Africa have been adversely impacted by transnational organized crime, terrorism, genocide and crimes against humanity and these crimes and their perpetrators continue to pose a threat to the region and its people. Available information shows that hundreds of suspects are sought by Eastern African authorities for transnational organized crime including human trafficking, drug trafficking and maritime piracy, but also terrorism. Nonetheless, governments in Eastern Africa are still facing significant challenges, notably when it comes to tracking suspects and fugitives wanted for prosecution. As such, perpetrators have often escaped authorities of the jurisdictions in which they have allegedly committed the crimes for which they are wanted, and have found safe haven in other jurisdictions.

In his opening address, Under-Secretary General Serge Brammertz welcomed the interest by Member States in participating in the workshop, but also the close cooperation between UNODC and the UNMICT. He expressed the hope that the workshop would develop effective international cooperation in criminal matters among Member States in the region, especially in countering impunity in relation to transnational and international crimes.

The training workshop was attended by law enforcement officers from the Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Rwanda, Uganda, INTERPOL General Secretariat in Lyon, INTERPOL Regional Bureaus for Eastern Africa and Southern Africa, the German Federal Police, British Metropolitan Police and United States Homeland Security, and focused on strengthening the capacities, skills and knowledge of Eastern Africa law enforcement officials and UNMICT investigators through knowledge and experience sharing on tracking fugitives and international cooperation.

The training included practical and operational discussions on tracking methods and international cooperation in criminal matters; planning, developing and adapting a fast time strategy for the tracking of fugitives; utilising intelligence and specialised tactics, including open source intelligence (OSINT), human intelligence (HUMINT), methods of physical and non-physical surveillance, but also management of intelligence and sensitive information; international criminal justice, legal and intelligence community; international cooperation in criminal matters, including mutual legal assistance, extradition, joint investigations, joint operations and intelligence sharing; border management and movement of criminal fugitives, those wanted for war crimes and foreign terrorist fighters; and understanding procedural and human rights issues.

The training workshop was the result of an increasingly closer working relationship between UNODC and the UNMICT on areas of mutual interest and was the first of a number of future events to be jointly organised by UNODC and the UNMICT. It provided an opportunity for a productive exchange of experiences and sharing of expertise among participants and resulted in a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities related to fugitive tracking in Eastern Africa.