Maputo (Mozambique), 29 October 2022 – On 23-29 October 2022, the Southern African Chief Justices' Forum (SACJ Forum) conducted its Annual General Meeting, which this year focused on ‘Judicial Accountability and the Role of the Judiciary in the Fight against Terrorism’. The event was organized by a number of partners, including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Mozambican Supreme Court, the MASC Foundation, the Democratic Governance and Rights Unit (DRGU), the International Commission of Jurists – Kenyan Section, and the Hanns Seidel Foundation.
The SACJ Forum provides a formal platform for collective discussion and reflection on critical issues related to the delivery of justice and for the adoption of strategies and action plans to tackle those issues in a systematic and sustained way.
During the opening ceremony, the President of the Supreme Court of Mozambique, Adelino Muchanga, argued that the judicial apparatus and the countries of Southern Africa should overcome the weaknesses that favours the growth of the terrorist threat in the sub-region of the African continent.
“It is important to eliminate the facilities that allow the emergence, development and spread of this phenomenon”, he emphasized, warning that the lack of an “integrated action will always leave room for the emergence and even resurgence of terrorism”. Mr. Muchanga further noted that this type of criminality constitutes a direct threat to life, society, and the maintenance of the democratic rule of law in the SADC region.
Representing UNODC, Mr. Antonio de Vivo stressed the importance of discussing criminal justice responses to terrorism in Southern Africa, urging expedited and coordinated action from all actors. In this context, he underscored the grave social and humanitarian consequences of terrorism and the interlinkages between terrorist groups and transnational organized crime.
Welcoming the recent adoption by the Mozambican Government of the Integrated Programme for Resilience and Development of the North of Mozambique (PREDIN), he also noted UNODC’s capacity-building and normative and policy support activities over the last year in several Southern African countries, including Mozambique, and reiterated UNODC’s continued support towards counter-terrorism efforts in the region.
“We must continue to collaborate in the fight against terrorism. We must continue to discuss and share good practices, mistakes made and lessons learned”, he emphasized.