From 30th November to 4th December 2020, the Global Firearms Programme (GFP) of UNODC delivered an online training to Paraguay authorities to enhance their capacities to investigate and prosecute firearms trafficking and related offences and coordinated by Paraguay’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Thirty-four practitioners from different institutions in Paraguay (Judiciary, Public Prosecutor’s Office, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Police and the Ministry of Defence’s Directorate of War Material -DIMABEL) took part in the training. The training focused on subjects such as: the dimensions of the firearms problem; the legal framework of firearms control; identification, marking, registration and tracing of illicit firearms; specialised investigations and international cooperation. The training also included a practical exercise, where the participants cooperated to resolve a transnational case of firearms trafficking. In addition to GFP’s experts, the activity also counted with the support and expertise of authorities from Paraguay.The event was opened with the welcoming remarks delivered by Dr Maria Carolina Llanes Ocampos, Minister of the Supreme Court of Justice, President of the Criminal Chamber of the Republic of Paraguay; Minister Maria Amarilla, Director General of Special Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Paraguay; and Ms. Simonetta Grassi, Head of UNODC’s Global Firearms Programme. It was reminded the importance of effectively detecting, investigating and eventually prosecuting firearms trafficking cases in order to shed light on this form of criminality, ensure accountability of the criminal groups and, overall, contribute to peace, justice and the rule of law.
An Activity Welcomed by National Experts and Practitioners
Participants welcomed the online course on investigation and prosecution of firearms trafficking and related offences, and expressed their interest that UNODC, through its Global Firearms Programme, continue to support Paraguay with other specific courses, in order to strengthen national capacities in the detection, investigation and prosecution of firearms trafficking and related crimes.
A Way Forward: Paraguay and GFP Continue Pursuing their Commitments under the Roadmap
The training is part of the Roadmap on Preventing and Countering Illicit Firearms Trafficking and Related Crimes, recently approved on 30th September 2020. The Roadmap represents Paraguay’s commitment to put a definite stop to and contain the various manifestations in illicit firearms trafficking within the national territory and in its cross-border dimension.
The course identified the difficulties and challenges in the investigation and prosecution of firearms trafficking and related crimes. Among the most discussed were the regulation of Law 4036, inter-institutional coordination on the roles of the Public Prosecutor's Office and the judiciary, and the drafting of a proposal for a specific law that would allow for special investigative techniques for arms trafficking and another for asset recovery. Further activities, as envisaged within the Roadmap, will strengthen those capacities in Paraguay.
Likewise, the Roadmap contributes to the achievement of Agenda 2030, which recognises the intrinsic relationship between sustainable development and the fight against all forms of organized crime, especially with Target 16.4, reducing illicit arms flows, as a means towards “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions”.
Adapting and Continuing Efforts Against Firearms Trafficking during COVID-19 Pandemic
Considering the ongoing health crisis linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, GFP has adapted to the current reality without losing sight of its mandate of working directly with Member States to fight illicit firearms trafficking. The Programme will continue its efforts in fighting illicit firearms trafficking despite the pandemic to avoid exploitation of this crisis by criminals and traffickers.
Apart this online training, the GFP has been stepping up its work to be able to respond to its mandate during the current situation, this includes: providing key partners with equipment and Internet connectivity so that activities can be carried out online; adaptation of its trainings and events to online environments and of its entire curriculum to eLearning, as well as supporting efforts towards digitalization of firearms registries.
This activity was made possible with the support of the European Union.