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UNODC Facilitates Mock Trial for Prosecutors and Investigators to Enhance Joint Responses to Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrant Cases in Uganda

Mock trial Uganda TIP and SOM

Entebbe (Uganda), 27 October – UNODC delivered a 3-day Mock Trial Joint Training on Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants for 20 prosecutors from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) and investigators from the Uganda Police Force (UPF) Criminal Investigation Directorate (Child and Family Protection Unit).

The 3-day joint training was the second phase following a 5-day joint specialised scenario-based training workshop for law enforcement practitioners and prosecutors on the investigation and prosecution of cases of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM) in July 2021. The July-workshop was based on a case scenario involving offences of trafficking for sexual exploitation. 

Both the initial scenario-based training activity and the recently concluded mock trial fostered and underlined the vital need for cooperation and synergy that must exist between prosecutors and investigators from as soon as a crime is detected. If the ultimate objective would be to prosecute these crimes, it is critical that cases are investigated in a manner that would allow for successful prosecution. This includes taking accurate statements from victims and witnesses; securing crime scenes; collection and maintaining the chain of custody of forensic and other evidence, including biological, ballistic, digital and financial evidence; ensuring victim and witness protection; and finally, presenting the evidence in court in a manner that would prove the guilt of perpetrators beyond reasonable doubt.

During the scenario-based workshop in July, the employment of actors and use of various props at the crime scene and premises searches, and during staged victim-, witness- and suspect interviews, served to make the scenarios as realistic as possible. The participants were divided into teams comprising investigators and prosecutors and were required to work together throughout the various stages of the investigation, preparing the case file and considering evidence for trial. During the latter part of the training, each team analysed the evidence, considered how to structure their cases evidentially, considered potential and alternative charges, and prepared the case file for trial.

This case file formed the basis of the recently concluded mock trial.

The benefits of cooperation between law enforcement practitioners and prosecutors prior to and during a trial were clearly demonstrated by involving officers throughout the prosecution phase. For instance, during pre-trial meetings, investigation teams were shown the challenges posed by vulnerable victims and witnesses, and were required to assist in resolving those challenges in order for prosecutors to rely on the testimony of these witnesses. Investigators were also cross-examined on their investigation strategy and perceived shortcomings in the earlier “investigation” during the scenario-based training workshop. Teams experienced the impact that shortcomings and weaknesses during the investigation can have on a case once prosecution commenced. Trial advocacy training for the prosecutors – including opening and closing statements, examination-in-chief and cross-examination – not only strengthened their skills but enabled all participants to develop a clear case strategy, which included mitigating common defence strategies.

Mock trial Uganda TIP and SOMProsecutors found that the methods of case analysis and preparation taught at the July-workshop, helped them to prepare their trial submissions and examination much more efficiently. Prosecutors also better understood how to request more effective further investigation and additional evidence collection from investigators. In turn, investigators remarked that they found the early involvement of prosecutors in their investigations to be invaluable, especially in guiding their resources to priority evidence and needed evidence. Investigators also noted that being exposed to cross-examination practice had been particularly beneficial for them as it provided an important opportunity to test all angles of their investigation.

UNODC is enhancing the capacity of Member States in the Horn of Africa, including Uganda, through the Better Migration Management (BMM) Programme – specifically addressing TIP and SOM within, to and from the Horn of Africa – by providing technical expertise and support to respective criminal justice institutions. This support and assistance focus on enhancing of legal frameworks and strengthening criminal justice capacity, including through the procurement of equipment, training workshops and supporting with drafting and review of legislation, to effectively implement the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and its supplementing protocols; the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (Trafficking in Persons Protocol) and the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air (Smuggling of Migrants Protocol).

The BMM Programme is being implemented by UNODC as part of its regional Countering Transnational Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking Programme within the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for Eastern Africa (2016-2021) – Promoting the Rule of Law and Human Security in Eastern Africa.


See UNODC’s Strategic Vision for Africa 2030 here.


For more information, please contact:

Mr. Johan Kruger –
Head of Transnational Organized Crime,
Illicit Trafficking and Terrorism Programmes,
UNODC Regional Office for Eastern Africa