Saturday, Jun 06, 2020

 

Dec. 11, 2019 (ENTEBBE, Uganda): The Ministers of Gender and women Affairs together with responsible for Peace/Security/Defence from Member States of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) convened today in Entebbe in order to follow up the outcomes from their 7th Ministerial meeting held in Khartoum, Sudan on 6th December 2018 and to discuss issues of Women in Peace and Security.

The Ministerial meeting held in Entebbe focused on gauging progress towards implementation of commitments to the UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) 1325 and 1820 and subsequent relevant resolutions. IGAD adopted a Regional Action Plan on UNSCRs 1325 & 1820 in 2013 and four IGAD Member States have National Action Plans in this regard (Uganda, Kenya, Djibouti, and South Sudan). Issues related to the IGAD Women in Peace and Security Forum (IWPSF) were also discussed.

The Ministerial meeting was preceded by a two-day technical meeting during which Experts from Member States Ministries responsible for women/gender affairs deliberated on women, peace and security issues in the region and prepared recommendations which were presented to the Ministers for endorsement.

Other participants at the ministerial meeting included IGAD focal points from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, the United Nations, RJMEC and IWPSF.

The Minister of State for Gender and Culture Affairs of Uganda, Hon. Peace Regis Mutuuzo, opened the meeting. She called upon all participants and partners ‘to reflect and pick lessons, and recommendations from the implementation [of UNSCRs UNSCRs 1325 and 1820] so that we consolidate on the successes and address the bottlenecks registered’.

‘When women are taken on board in negotiating peace and in deciding peace agreements, the peace lasts longer’ Senior Program Coordinator at the Peace and Security Division of IGAD, Mrs. Legawork Assefa, recalled as one of the outcomes of a review of the 15 years of implementation that was done five years ago.

The overall objective of the Ministerial meeting was to draw attention to the topic of women and peace and security and secure informed commitments of the Member States to the agenda. This meeting also informed the Member States on the essential tools that are already in place to accelerate implementation processes in regards to their commitments on a regional basis.

The major areas that were discussed during the one-day meeting were:

  • The overall Peace and Security trends in the Horn of Africa;
  • Results of the assessment of the UNSCR 1325 and 1820 implementation in the IGAD region; and
  • The IGAD Women, Peace and Security Forum (IWPSF).

The Ministers issued a resolution at the closing of the meeting.

This meeting was conducted with the financial support from the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) administered by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) under the IGAD Promoting Peace and Stability in the Horn of Africa Region (IPPSHAR) Programme.

 

 

 

7 December 2019, Entebbe-Uganda - The IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP), with support from the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) administered by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) under the IPPSHAR program conducted a five days regional training on “Cyber/Digital Evidence/Forensics on Counter Terrorism Investigation and Prosecution” held on 3-7 December 2019 in Entebbe, Uganda.

Terrorism with its ever changing and evolving nature is one of the serious Transnationl Security Threats (TSTs) that affects the region.  Terrorists and their networks are becoming transnational with cells and members scattered across borders who use various forms of technology to coordinate and communicate their activities.  The Internet, various technology and Social Media are used to facilitate terrorist activities, such as recruitment, communications, radicalization, training, financing, incitement, preparation, planning, and collection information through secret chat rooms, encrypted Internet messages boards, fake email accounts, mobile applications, among others.  These has called for more comprehensive approach to counterterrorism by understanding the role Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT) plays and utilized by terrorists.  Cyber Terrorism is a real threat that may use the available infrastructure through cyber space, in which terrorist could apply directly or indirectly.  In this regard, digital forensics is one of the tools to identify the source of these attacks requiring knowledge, expertise, and experience in investigation and prosecution of terrorism cases.  Evidence in terrorism cases can sometimes be huge in volume, encrypted or in a foreign language, classified or located in a conflict zone, or technically so complex that it requires forensic or technological experts.  Due to the complex and sophisticated nature of terrorism cases, it is important to have dedicated response from relevant officials who are involved in tracking terrorists and bringing them to justice. 

It is with this background in mind and as part of its effort to enhance the capacity of IGAD Member States that this training was undertaken.  The overall objective of the training was to equip trainees with an advanced knowledge and practical skills on handling and managing digital evidence/forensics through the investigation processes and prosecution of terrorism cases.  In addition, it aimed at strengthening the cooperation and coordination among the relevant agencies at various levels.

The guest of honor, Commander Abebe Muluneh - Director of IGAD SSP, in his opening and closing remarks emphasized the importance of having the capability in dealing with digital evidence and the overall cybercrime dynamism.  He said that “due to the increasing complexity of terrorism cases, successful prosecution in terrorism cases requires intense coordination during the investigation phase related to the gathering of evidence and on the use of general or specific investigative tools available”.  He continued “...considering the transnational and trans regional threat of terrorism, strengthening law enforcement and judicial cooperation between States is crucial”. He further urged IGAD Member States “...to streamline law enforcement and judicial cooperation on the principle of aut derere aut judicare…”.  He indicated that “...IGAD Member States have to engage in enabling the use of procedural protective measures, adopting a tailored, flexible, and comprehensive approach to questioning, assisting and protecting witnesses, assisting persons processing sensitive or classified information to testify, establishing witness protection programs, and strengthening the use of expert witness in court”.

A total of 28 practitioners from the relevant institutions of Member States participated in the training bringing together vast experience from their respective expertise, which were believed to highly contribute to the training contents.  The participants were drawn from the Police, Ministry of Justice, Judiciary, Information Security Agency, Counter Terrorism Center, Ministry of ICT, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defense, Intelligence Units, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cyber Crime Unit, Criminal Investigation, among others. 

Subject matter experts from and out of the region with extensive work experience shared their experiences and facilitated the sessions through presentations, interactive discussions, group exercise (table top, scenarios, case studies).  The experts were Dr. Mehari G. Msgna and Mr. Dessalegn H. Kinane of the Information Network Security Agency of Ethiopia, Dr. Kinfe Yilma- an assistant professor of Law at the Addis Ababa University, Chief Inspector Julius Cheruiyot from Kenya Department of Criminal Investigations.  Mr. Fernando P. Mendoza from the United Nations Counter Terrorism Center (UNCCT) Cybersecurity unit has also facilitated and presented on the training.  In addition, experts from the US, namely Ms. Jessica Milla Schutzman (Bureau Chief-Financial Crimes for District Attorney’s Office in New York State), and Mr. John Bridge (Director of Financial Crimes Technology at Trust Stamp) who are facilitators through the Attorney General Alliance African Alliance Partnership (AGA-AAP) have contributed to the training.

 The topics covered during the five days were the following.  These topics have been extensively discussed and it was believed to have contributed to the overall objective.

  • Cybercrime and Cyberterrorism - concepts, definitions, terminology, types, threats
  • Cyber/digital evidence/forensics - identification, preservation, collection, analysis, classification, comparison/examination, interpretation)
  • Information security and current hacking trends
  • Protection of key infrastructure from terrorist cyber attacks
  • The insider threat - radicalization of cyber security personnel
  • Terrorist investigation using the Internet and Social Media, open source intelligence (OSINT)
  • Legal instruments at various levels on handling cybercrime, digital evidence, mutual legal assistance
  • Investigation of digital evidence - collection and examination - tools, processes, techniques, phases and processes
  • Identification, interpretation of digital evidence - authorization, access, understanding, preserving, etc
  • Analysis of digital evidence - tools, classification/categorization, examination/evaluation
  • Presentation and documentation of digital evidence - converting to understandable versions with explanations without tampering the value and meaning of the evidence
  • Digital evidence in effective prosecution - understand, defend and proof.

Participants at the end appreciated the content, methodology and approach of the training whereby they requested IGAD to continue to provide such kind of on-hand training that will help them build their and their institutional capacity.  They came up with a way forward with clear recommendations of the training. 

At the end of the training program, the Director of IGAD SSP - Commander Abebe, thanked the Government of Uganda for hosting, the EU and ADA for their financial support, the staff of IGAD SSP, and the participants for their respective role in the successful completion of this timely training.  Participants received a certificate of completion meant to serve as a recognition of their participation of the training.

 

November 25-28, 2019 (NIMULE, South Sudan) – The IGAD Mediation Support Unit (MSU) in partnership with the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) yesterday kick-started a three-day consultations workshop in Nimule, South Sudan for South Sudan national institutions to enhance their conflict prevention, peace building and mediation capacities.

The workshop aims to support South Sudan, an IGAD Member State, in establishing frameworks for streamlining inter-linkages and creating synergies for better structured national institutions that deal specifically with mediation and conflict prevention.

The workshop is expected to establish a coordination mechanism for maintaining dialogue amongst national institutions working in similar thematic areas, as well as an interim national institutions identified and selected by consensus with the responsibility of coordinating mediation efforts at the national level.

The consultative workshop is being attended by senior technical officials from relevant national institutions such as the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Representatives of CSOs, Private Sector and Ministry of Youth amongst others.

This workshop is conducted with the financial support of the European Union through the IPPSHAR Programme co-managed by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).

 

 

21-11-2019 (PORT SUDAN, SUDAN) – The IGAD Mediation Support Unit (MSU) in partnership with the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) yesterday concluded a three-day workshop on capacity building and provision of technical assistance to key national institutions, CSOs and states in mediation, conflict prevention and conflict management in Port Sudan, Sudan.

This workshop was held against the backdrop of the 2016 Assessment on the Conflict Prevention and Mediation Architectures at National Level, which highlighted the gaps in national institutions on engaging in mediation.

During the workshop, participants reviewed the 2016 assessment and made inputs on the changes in key institutions since the ouster of President Omar Al Bashir regime and came up with notable recommendations for engagements with IGAD-MSU.

The workshop not only sought to identify the key institutions that work in areas of peace building, negotiation, mediation in Sudan but it also sought to map out and plan ways of future engagements in which the MSU can undertake in Sudan by providing technical assistance and capacities.

The participants came up with several recommendations to IGAD- MSU and top amongst the recommendations was the idea to set up parallel Mediation Support Units in Sudan that will work hand in hand with IGAD- MSU, AU -MSU and the UN-MSU. The suggested body will assist in coordinating and capacitating key institutions that work in preventive diplomacy in Sudan as well as look into issues of regional collaboration for best practices and lessons learned.

The training was attended by members of the diplomatic corps, members of the uniformed forces, academia, media practitioners, CSOs and representatives from Kordofan, Darfur, Blue Nile, Nuba Mountains and Abei States.

The IGAD MSU has also carried out a similar workshop in Kenya and will in a few days have one in Numule, South Sudan.

The workshop was conducted through the financial support of the European Union through the IPPSHAR Programme being implemented by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).

 

19.11.2019 (JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN):  The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Mediation Support Unit (MSU) is hosting a three day training for the South Sudan Mediation Committee and its Secretariat in a bid to enhance its capacity as hosts to the mediation between Sudan’s protagonists aiming to end the on-going civil wars in Darfur, Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile regions.

South Sudan offered to mediate in these conflicts under the leadership of President Salva Kiir right from signing the CPA 2005 and in particular in the then sprung up Darfur conflict.

IGAD MSU jointly with the African Centre for Constructive Resolution of Dispute (ACCORD); a civil society organisation working throughout Africa to bring creative African solutions to the challenges posed by conflict on the continent are working together to ensure enhanced capabilities for the team to successfully accomplish mediation.

IGAD MSU’s support to South Sudan led mediation is a result of IGAD member states’ request for IGAD to encourage peaceful resolution of disputes and enhance member states good neighborly and capacities on mediation.

The three-day training for the over 30 participants will be trained in several topics such as understanding conflicts, their different responses and conflict intervention approaches, conflict analysis tools as well as effective mediation to mention but a few.

The training is being held in Juba, South Sudan and funded through ACCORD.

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