Criminal Justice and Corruption

As the guardian of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the United Nations Convention against Corruption, UNODC has been assisting Governments in the Southern African region to develop and implement national legislation in order to ensure alignment with the Conventions.

UNODC has provided technical assistance to criminal justice practitioners, promoted cross-border information sharing in order to assess and analyse crime trends, assisted Member States in the implementation of anti-corruption initiatives, and worked towards better alignment among national criminal justice systems in the region.

How we work

Assisting Governments in their work against corruption implies assisting them in a variety of efforts, ranging from prevention to legislative drafting, law enforcement and criminalization, and asset recovery. The focus of the Southern African office of UNODC has been to work alongside Governments in the legislative processes of establishing anti-corruption organs and provide technical assistance to these institutions. Most notably, UNODC Southern Africa has recently worked on anti-corruption issues with the Governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland.

On-site capacity-building initiatives with investigators and other professionals has led to excellent advances in investigations into corruption. With the aim of increasing the number of corruption cases that move beyond investigation to successful prosecution and asset recovery, UNODC Southern Africa seeks to widen its assistance to include capacity-building among prosecution authorities across the region. Current plans include the establishment of a regional forum of national prosecution authorities, which will help facilitate cross-border investigations, prosecutions and asset recovery, as well as strengthen efforts to align procedures and standards related to the penal provisions of the Conventions.

Strengthening systems

UNODC Southern Africa is concerned with strengthening criminal justice systems in the region. The office has conducted an extensive study of the levels of integrity and capacity of the South African justice system that has, in turn, informed the development of its current initiative on strengthening the integrity and capacity of low-level courts in three pilot provinces. It is envisaged that this initiative will be expanded to include low-level courts across South Africa and that lessons learned from this multi-year engagement will inform similar criminal justice initiatives in other countries in the region.

In dealing with juvenile offenders, UNODC Southern Africa has developed a comprehensive multi-pronged programme that aims to assist Governments in the region to develop and implement policies for children and youth in conflict with the law. Within this focal area, UNODC Southern Africa has completed, or is in the process of executing programmes, such as: