August 26-29 2019 - CRIMJUST Head of Global Programme, Glen Prichard, and Programme Officer, Daniela Baptista were among the experts to speak at the 2019 Law Enforcement Advisor Meeting in Vienna, organized by the Implementation Support Section of the UNODC Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking Branch. The meeting consists in an annual event bringing together key agencies involved in the fight against organized crime. It aims to share and reflect upon programs targeting issues ranging from migrant smuggling, to corruption, to the illicit trafficking of goods, services and persons. Special attention was given this year to implementing integrated border management policies and mainstreaming gender in law enforcement initiatives.
UNODC Director of the Division for Treaty Affairs, John Brandolino, and Chief of the Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking Branch, Loide Aryee, inaugurated the event, both underscoring the importance of enhancing international cooperation in line with the legal framework provided by the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. During his opening remarks, John Brandolino encouraged participants to use the meeting as an opportunity to synergize expertise from Headquarters and from the field to develop comprehensive and concrete law enforcement programs. Meanwhile, Loide Aryee remarked that achieving gender equality requires decision-makers and stakeholders to conceptualize gender considerations as interdependent to the success of any initiative seeking to tackle organized crime.
As part of UNODC efforts to showcase lessons learned and best practices, Glen Prichard provided an overview of CRIMJUST priorities and activities, highlighting two key success stories, namely the cocaine production course and three joint-investigations. Additionally, he mentioned the shift of the programme to focus on supporting joint investigations beyond interdiction activities and to bolster international cooperation between prosecutors and investigators. This broader scope is also characterized by the expansion of the work of CRIMJUST to address the growing increase and diversification of trafficking of synthetic opioids, notably in West Africa, as well as the existing challenges posed by organized crime in Mexico. In this vein, Daniela Baptista later presented two programs currently being implemented in Mexico, which provide guidance and support to its criminal justice system as it transitions to an accusatory system and to its police force to enhance capacities of first responders to cases of gender-based violence. Ms. Baptista underscored the importance of strengthening institutional integrity and incorporating a gender perspective in drug-related strategies when implementing law enforcement initiatives.
The Law Enforcement Advisor meeting is a forum of exchange facilitating exchange of intelligence, best practices and lessons learnt among law enforcement agencies and providing participants with an opportunity to better understand respective organizations' mandate, action and challenges encountered. It is vital in enhancing coordination, avoiding duplication of initiatives and identifying opportunities for further collaboration. It is a hallmark of the UNODC DTA/OCB Implementation Support Section calendar, central to launching joint-initiatives, replication of best practices across regions and confirming new partnerships. This year, over 75 experts and program officers from UNODC headquarters and field offices, partner organizations (CEPOL, FRONTEX, INTERPOL, MAOC(N), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the World Customs Organization), law enforcement officials from the Netherlands and Spain, and representatives from the Permanent Missions in Vienna participated.
Under the framework of the CRIMJUST project funded by European Union Cocaine Route Programme, UNODC and its partners (INTERPOL and TI) aim to assist Member States to enhance their capacity and integrity of criminal justice institutions to detect, investigate, prosecute and adjudicate illicit cocaine trafficking cases, and to foster cooperation at the interregional level for effective action to tackle drug trafficking and related organized crime.
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