Working Group Meeting, 11-12 December 2019, Vienna
The Working Group Meeting of the West African Network of Central Authorities and Prosecutors (WACAP) took place at UNODC in Vienna from 11 to 12 December 2019. The participants were six focal points from the WACAP network from Burkina Faso, Gambia, Togo, Senegal, Nigeria, Niger, Ms. Karen Kramer (Senior Expert within the Organized Crime Branch UNODC HQ) and Ms. Coumba M. Diop (WACAP Project Coordinator UNODC ROSEN). The organization of the working group stem from the 8th WACAP Plenary Meeting held in Cotonou in November 2018, in which WACAP members have recommended the establishment of a working group envisaged to reflect on the institutional anchoring of WACAP from an informal to more formal network and to formulate an action plan for 2020.
The working group meeting was aimed to take stock on network’s achievements and to deliberate on the following aspects:
- The relevance of existing charter and regulation of the WACAP network;
- Steps to be taken for strengthening the visibility of the network;
- The role and the appointment of focal points, partnerships with other entities (ECOWAS, AFRIPOL, EJN, CASC, Iber-Red, Eurojust);
- Statistics of cases regularly delivered by national authorities and WACAP;
- Training and pool of experts;
- Liaison magistrate project (MOU with Italy and the Italian DNA and WAJUST);
- Tools (website, newsletters, Directory of National Central Authorities (CNA; MLA Request Writer Tool; creating a secured website of the network; drafting briefing notes on judicial cooperation mechanisms for each member state).
Numerous contact points raised concern on the problem of transferring expertise and resources from former contact points to new appointed and identified the need to establish a systematic and efficient transfer of information between criminal justice practitioners (Training of the Trainers program). It was underlined the need to generate and adopt adequate instruments for fostering the engagement of designated contact points.
In the course of the second day of the meeting, the attendees drafted a list of commitments (suggestions) to be endorsed by all contact points of the network with a view of strengthening the network and rendering its operation more efficient. These commitments were discussed on the sidelines of the Ninth Plenary Meeting of WACAP held in Vienna from 29 to 31 January 2020.