20 December 2010

African Union and U.S. Justice Department Meet to Enhance Collaboration on Criminal Issues

press release

Within the framework of the existing cooperation between the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United States of America (USA), the first dialogue between the AUC and the U.S. Justice Department was held at the AU Headquarters, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 16-17 December 2010.

It will be recalled that the First Annual AUC-USA High Level Bilateral Meeting took place in Washington DC, from 21 to 23 April 2010. During that meeting, the Chairperson of the AUC, H.E. Jean Ping, and the Attorney General of the U.S., H.E. Eric Holder, agreed that a team from the Department of Justice would visit Addis Ababa in order to see how best the two sides could work and identify possible areas of cooperation between them. This meeting therefore was in fulfillment of that agreement.

The two parties identified three possible areas of cooperation, which are Fighting and Combating Corruption and Related Offences; Trafficking in Drugs and Persons; and General Law Enforcement. With respect to fighting and combating  corruption, it was agreed to involve the private and public sectors and anti-corruption agencies in regional workshops in order to jointly identify best practices, risk and problem areas so as to address them in a coherent and holistic manner. Collaboration on corruption is aimed at effectively enacting anti-corruption laws and empowering institutions tasked with fighting corruption. .

Regarding trafficking in drugs and persons, the meeting recommended cooperation in cross border policing, gender training in peace support operations and the establishment and operationalization of an early warning system for drug trafficking and abuse. With regard to general law enforcement, the parties agreed to enhance networking in order to share appropriate information. The cooperation on law enforcement also includes general criminal issues such as money laundering amongst others.

The meeting reiterated the importance of communication and information as cross cutting, for the whole partnership. It emphasized the need to work with the media to promote law enforcement issues and best practices.

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