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Countering Serious and Transnational Organized Crime in Ethiopia 

Bishoftu (Ethiopia), 8 October 2021 UNODC delivered a second 9-day training workshop on Effective Criminal Justice Response to counter Serious and Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) to 26 Criminal Justice practitioners (23 men and 3 women), including public prosecutors from the Ethiopian Ministry of Justice, police officials from the Federal Police Commission, Ethiopia Police University, and the INTERPOL National Coordination Bureau.

The training workshop was the second event in a series of workshops, planned to enhance the capacity of criminal justice practitioners in Ethiopia, and presented as part of the UNODC Regional Programme, Supporting Transformation, Peace and Security in the Horn of Africa (2020-2021), funded by the Government of Japan. The overall objective of the programme is to increase the understanding of threats of transnational organized crime, illicit trafficking, and terrorism in the Horn of Africa; and improve the criminal justice capacity of Member States to identify and counter serious and transnational organized crime and illicit trafficking.

The workshop focused on international legal frameworks, such as  the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC),investigation strategy planning in complex criminal investigations, raising awareness of specific and supportive investigation activities, enhancing cooperation between investigators and prosecutors, promoting inter-agency cooperation,  coordination and using international cooperation in criminal matters, both informally and formally, as a strategy to investigate and prosecute TOC.

National, regional, international, and inter-agency cooperation is crucial in countering – and ensuring successful Investigation and prosecution of – TOC across borders and regions. Accordingly, the workshop included legal and theoretical aspects of UNTOC and its supplementary protocols against Trafficking in Persons, Smuggling of Migrants and Trafficking in Firearms and Ammunition; Intelligence Collection, Sharing & Inter-Agency Cooperation; Crime Scene Management & Chain of Custody – “The Chain of Evidence”; Illicit Drug Trafficking; Illicit Financial Flows – Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Confiscation of Proceeds of Crime and provided an overview of the Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP).

Apart from UNODC trainers, the training also targeted enhancing interagency cooperation through presentations and inputs provided by participants from INTERPOL, Prosecution and Witness protection units within the Ethiopian Ministry of Justice.

Additionally, the workshop also included training on identifying serious and organized crime threats to Ethiopia, incl., trafficking in person (TIP) and smuggling of migrants (SOM) in the Horn of Africa; criminal investigation from a prosecutor’s perspective; protection of witnesses and whistleblowers as well as the role of INTERPOL in countering these crimes. Furthermore, it provided training on assisting criminal justice practitioners to identify and address challenges faced in practical cases involving serious and transnational organized crimes.

During the workshop, participants were encouraged to share the challenges they face in their daily practice through scenario-based exercises prepared ahead of the workshop and based on fictional case scenarios, which were developed from real cases.

For the closing of the workshop, the Ambassador of Japan to Ethiopia, H.E. Ito Takako, Representative of the Government of Ethiopia, Honorable Mr. Fikadu Tsega, State Minister, Ethiopian Ministry of Justice, and Ms. Amelia Hanford, Head of UNODC Programme Office in Somalia (OIC), reiterated the importance of building the capacity of criminal justice officials and working together with Member States in combatting serious transnational organized crime.

The Supporting Transformation, Peace and Security in the Horn of Africa programme is part of the regional Countering Transnational Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking programmes, implemented within the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for Eastern Africa (2016-2021) – promoting the rule of law.

See UNODC Legislative Guides for the Implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols Thereto here.

See UNODC’s Strategic Vision for Africa 2030 here.

More information

Mr. Johan Kruger –

Head of Transnational Organized Crime, Illicit Trafficking and Terrorism Programmes,

UNODC Regional Office for Eastern Africa