July 1, 2022 (Entebbe, Uganda): The IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP) has successfully conducted a five days Regional Training on the Investigation and Prosecution of Drug and Psychotropic Substances, held on 27 June -1 July 2022 in Entebbe, Uganda. The overall objective of the training was to equip trainees with an advanced knowledge and practical skills on the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases in the production and trafficking of drugs and psychotropic substances. The training also aimed to strengthen the regional cooperation and coordination among the relevant institutions through experience sharing, information exchange and creating informal networks among the practitioners.
Drugs and psychotropic substances, despite their medical and scientific uses, are trafficked and abused for use in criminal activities. The production and trafficking of drugs and psychotropic substances has become the major security threat in the IGAD Region and beyond. The region has been the transit and destination for drug trafficking although limited information exists for the region to be the source of production of drugs. Reports indicate that there is a significant increase in the trafficking of cocaine, heroin and Amphetamine Type Substances (ATS) on routes via the countries in Africa in general and the region in particular. Some cases show the magnitude of the threat, networks involved, financial aspects, legal matters, and the lack of availability of information on the movement of drugs and psychotropic substances trafficked through air, land, or maritime routes within/through the Region. With this complex threat, issues of investigation and prosecution of such cases is identified as one of the challenges for the Member States.
The training was attended by 33 (8 female, 25 male) senior practitioners from all Member States representing the law enforcement agencies and the public prosecution who are directly dealing with investigation and prosecution of drug related crimes. Regional experts led by Dr. Hamid Mannan, member of the IGAD SSP as well as UNODC facilitated the training covering all the aspects of the production, use and trafficking of drugs and related substances. The following were the sessions that were extensively discussed through presentation, experience/information sharing, and group discussion among the Member States.
- Drug & Psychotropic substances as Transnational Security Threats (TSTs)
- concepts, terminology, and types of Drugs and Psychotropic substances
- Production and trafficking routes of cocaine, heroin and Amphetamine Type Substances (ATS) in the Region
- Identification, detection and prevention of Drug trafficking
- Investigation of illicit drug & PS trafficking – techniques, tools, methods, etc
- Digital and forensic evidence – intelligence, gathering, analysis, preservations, etc.
- Opium cultivation and heroin trafficking from Afghanistan – trafficking to East Africa
- Legal instruments on production and trafficking of drugs and PS – national, regional & international
- Role of Intelligence in countering TSTs, drug trafficking and psychotropic substances
- Security institutions capabilities, inter-agency and multi-agency cooperation in investigating and prosecuting criminals
- Production and movement of drug precursors
- Criminal information sharing on drugs and PS offense – mechanisms, approach, etc
- Country specific threats – production, trafficking routes, controlling mechanisms, investigation and prosecution capabilities
- Challenges and opportunities for security institutions and relevant agencies – institutions setups, Information sharing, capability, cooperation and coordination
The overall objective of IGAD SSP is to promote and strengthen regional and national capacities to better predict, prevent and counter TSTs and thereby contribute to regional peace and stability in the IGAD region. The IGAD SSP is specifically mandated with 1) strengthening regional cooperation and coordination 2) enhancing the capacity of the Member States and 3) promote the national, regional and international legal instruments. This training was as part of the IGAD SSP’s effort to enhance the capacity of the law enforcement agencies including the criminal justice sector tailer made to the capabilities in dealing with drug trafficking and related crimes.
The training was conducted with financial support from the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) through the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) under the IPPSHAR Program.