In 2014, UNAFRI implemented the following activities based on regional needs and has continued to spearhead results-oriented technical support to promote popular, innovative and sustainable effective interventions in response to demands from Member States for capacity building, research, sensitisation, infrastructural development and skill updates:
(a) In February 2014 UNAFRI facilitated mutual legal assistance by law enforcement agencies, to collaborate at regional level through the Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisations in Eastern Africa. Opportunities now exist for exchange of information, intelligence and other assistance for law enforcement, improving responses to challenges posed by drugs, environmental crime, terrorism, trafficking in persons, money laundering, cybercrime and firearms proliferation. There is a growing use and relevance of networks by institutional frameworks consistent with their professional mandates.
(b) Regional cooperation is enhanced by building on Africa’s geo-political blocks. The Institute met several delegations at the African regional Preparatory Meeting for the 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, April 2014 in Addis Ababa and is making follow up efforts to strengthen collaboration with those blocks to promote crime prevention programmes. Opportunities for expanded networking with relevant institutions, individual experts and specialised agencies are being explored as an on-going measure.
(c) In promoting restorative justice, relevant local African initiatives for conflict resolution and criminal justice administration are being emphasised. Through continued dialogue with the Uganda Law Society, the Uganda Prisons Service and civil society organisations with emphasis on designing a plan of action to implement The Kadoma and Kampala Declarations on enhancing community-based sanctions and improving management of correctional institutions, as well as the Lilongwe Declaration for provision of legal aid through special legal aid clinics to inmates are increasingly being implemented at the national level and replicated as best practices in other jurisdictions in Africa.
(d) Since April 2014, the Institute has been collaborating with the criminal justice system in Uganda to adopt plea bargaining, an initiative which is operating successfully in selected jurisdictional zones as a pilot project to assist in disposing of a backlog of cases. The success of this project will be replicated in Africa.
(e) The Institute held discussions with the authorities in Malawi in November 2014 on adopting of sentencing guidelines as a best practice transfer. The same is already in use in Uganda.
(f) The Institute is collaborating with UNODC to promote jointly organised programmes to develop capacity to promote harmonised practices and policies to identified regional challenges with particular emphasis now, on cybercrime. The Institute, in this regard, is making efforts to approach local, national, regional and international crime prevention networks to build a consortium of partners with shared objectives.
Workshops on effective cybercrime legislation in Eastern Africa
(g) In view of the commitment of Eastern African states to fight cybercrime, UNAFRI is collaborating with stakeholders in criminal justice administration: police, prosecution, judges, civil society and academia as well as professional organisations, private sector corporate to build a strong coalition for sensitisation against illicit activities which have afflicted the East African countries and other regions, aimed at proactive crime prevention programmes, the promulgation of effective cybercrime legislation, harmonization and strengthening of legal frameworks.
(h) The Institute is following up on the recommendations of workshops (Dar es Salaam August 2013, Kampala, July 2014, Accra March 2014) which included: regional/international cooperation, resource mobilisation, sharing of information/best practices, capacity building, increased awareness about the rising trend of cybercrime, and integrating the evidence derived online and other electronic systems of data collection as admissible evidence in litigations.
(i) The workshop on cybercrime in the ECOWAS region was organized in March 2014 to support countries of the region in their efforts against cybercrime, through harmonization of legislation to address challenges beyond individual capacities of countries to make handle.
(j) The workshop called for concerted remedial strategies from relevant regional and international stakeholders, including from UNAFRI to bridge operational gaps identified in legislation, investigation, prosecution and rehabilitation of cybercrime-related inmates.
(k) A UNAFRI – UNODC workshop was organised for East African countries from 27 to 28 May 2014, on enhancing cybersecurity, focusing on child online protection, regional and international collaboration as well as control measures to protect e-money transactions targeting mobile money services in the region. Details of this workshop are the subject of further capacity building sessions requested at individual country as well as regional level.
(l) UNAFRI is processing requests for technical assistance to the criminal justice system, targeting magistrates, judges, prosecutions and defence counsels in the management of cybercrimes. Bilateral UNODC-UNAFRI arrangements have offered a training-needs assessment for the criminal justice system in Uganda, carried out in November 2014 to establish the nature, content and related technical support needed for remedial intervention.
Information dissemination and collaboration
(m) The Institute has continued to produce quarterly newsletters whose distribution has been diverse to reach several stakeholders for necessary updates. Future editions will now be online.
General direction and management
(n) In November 2014, the Institute concluded consultations with the Chairman of the Governing Board for an extraordinary session of the Board to discuss the restructuring of the Institute which was deferred in August 2014, to contribute to the reforms intended to strengthen the Institute’s functional capacity.
(o) For the period under review (January-December 2014), the Institute has been directing its efforts to addressing national challenges in resolving transnational organised crime, ahead of the 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. Sensitisation meetings have been held with diplomatic missions and partner institutions in order to mobilise views and seek support directly from their governments.
International cooperation and partnerships
(p) In the wake of new forms of crime, including cybercrime, the Institute is building networks for enhanced technical and evidence-based support from sister agencies, with the view to developing inter-institutional relations for joint implementation of activities.
(q) In July 2014, UNAFRI participated in a workshop organised in conjunction with the University of Pretoria on African Network of Information Ethics for universities in Eastern Africa. Modalities of institutional collaboration were discussed.