JUDICIARY UPSCALES GRAFT FIGHT, TRANSBOUNDARY CRIME WITH RENEWED AGA-AFRICA TRAINING PACT
MOMBASA, Kenya, Oct12 – The Judiciary of Kenya has entered into a fresh capacity building partnership with the Attorney General Alliance (AGA) Africa, after signing an extended MoU.
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding by the Director of JTI, Supreme Court Judge Smokin Wanjala, and AGA-Africa Board member Markus Green was witnessed by Kenya’s Chief Justice Martha Koome in Mombasa on Tuesday.
“The renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding between JTI and AGA-Africa is coming at an opportune time when we are embarking on revamping our judicial education and training. It is therefore great to have AGA-Africa on board as our first partner in this journey into a bold future for judicial education in Kenya,” Chief Justice Koome commented.
She explained that in the Social Transformation through Access to Justice Vision for the Judiciary, realisation of the dream of establishing an accessible, efficient, expeditious, cost-effective, and fair system of justice was anchored on having an inspired team of judges, judicial officers and Judiciary staff committed to excellence in the delivery of justice.
The MoU replaces a 2019 agreement with the then Conference of Western Attorneys General of the United States of America (now Attorney General Alliance), which is a bipartisan group originally of Western States but currently represents an association of Attorneys General, Federal, State and foreign officials, public and private sector partners throughout the world, including Africa.
The new agreement will support sharing of knowledge and experiences, development and strengthen human and institutional capacity, access to and exchange of information.
“We do know that as a result of our geographical location as well as other economic factors, Kenya is a hub for international crimes including terrorism, trafficking, money laundering and cybercrime. This fact creates an essential requirement to intensify and continue the judges’ and magistrates’ sensitisation on this very important topic,” Justice Wanjala said during signing of the agreement.
He elaborated that in three-year period, JTI in collaboration with AGAAfrica “has trained over 100 judges from various courts on cybercrime and electronic evidence and over 130 magistrates in human
JTI is mandated to coordinate continuous judicial education for judges, judicial officers, Judiciary staff and conduct research and develop draft policy relevant to the administration of justice. The training institute is also tasked with spearheading constructive engagement and feedback with stakeholders and other Arms of Government on behalf of the Judiciary.
“AGA-Africa seeks to establish and foster robust relationships with justice and law enforcement agencies throughout Africa, to support the rule of law and combat transnational criminal activities. We are cognizant of the fact that cross-border crime does not respect borders,” Mr Green remarked.
AGA-Africa has a presence in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia.
“Our work has allowed us to collaborate with law enforcement agencies on the continent sharing best practices on a variety of transnational crime areas including, forensics, cybercrime, counterfeit drugs, human trafficking, wildlife trafficking, money laundering, and asset forfeiture, virtual currency and countering corruption,” Mr Green explained.
Areas of cooperation under the extended MoU include development of a physical and electronic JTI library, publication of annual or biannual journals covering diverse aspects of jurisprudence growth, intellectual dialogues, and pioneering thought leadership.
In addition, it provides for capacity building for Supreme Court and Court of Appeal Judges in transnational organised crime and other identified areas including election dispute resolution training. The training sessions will be extended to law clerks and legal researchers who support the judges.
Regional judicial dialogues in transnational organised crime and other areas identified will covered, as well as exchange and mentorship programs between the Judiciary of Kenya and other jurisdictions across Africa and globally.
Under the MoU, an AGA/JTI fellowship program targeted at enhancing capacity of judges and judicial officers in areas of mutual interest and impact will be established.
CJ Koome concluded by saying that in the contemporary world, there were no physical boundaries to learning and sharing. We recognise the importance of learning from our counterparts from across the
continent, as well as from our local legal community.
“By expanding our international networks and forming collaborative working relationships with other Judiciaries across the African continent, our judges and judicial officers will be able to learn and share knowledge and experiences from this wider learning community of judicial practice.”