The Institute for Security Studies (ISS), in conjunction with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), hosted a training workshop on counter-terrorism, international criminal justice and responding to transnational threats. The workshop was tailored for senior prosecutors from the Priority Crimes Litigation Unit (PCLU), the Specialised Commercial Crime Unit, the Asset Forfeiture Unit, the Office for Witness Protection, the Commercial Crimes Courtand investigators from the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation of the South African Police Service. In bringing together prosecutors and investigators, the workshop encouraged collaborative and integrated responses to crime.
It also aimed to improve the understanding of international criminal justice, counter-terrorism and responses to transnational threats, and discuss how the investigation and prosecution of serious crimes could be improved.
The workshop was part of the International Crime in Africa programme’s (ICAP’s) efforts to enhance South African entities’ capacity to respond effectively to terrorism, international crime and organised crime. The emphasis was on building domestic criminal justice capacity, highlighting the importance of a strong South African criminal justice system.
The training aimed to enhance technical knowledge on counter-terrorism, international criminal justice and responding to transnational threats. It also focused on strengthening practical application in these areas and others such as the protection of witnesses and international cooperation in criminal matters.
The workshop covered a broad range of issues, including specific practical discussions of the South African legal framework to deal with terrorism, international crimes, organised crime and witness protection. The topics covered were:
- International and regional counter-terrorism legal regimes
- The Promotion of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorism and Related Activities Act’s obligations on prosecutors and police
- Criminal justice responses to terrorism and the Henry Okah case study
- International cooperation in criminal matters such as mutual legal assistance and extradition
- Proposed amendments to the Extradition Act and the International Cooperation in Criminal Matters Act
- Practical perspectives on mutual legal assistance and extradition
- Overview of international criminal justice and its relevance for Africa
- Update on key international criminal justice issues
- South Africa’s Implementation of the Rome Statute Act
- Practical aspects of international criminal justice: a case study
- The investigation of serious and organised crime in South Africa
- Practical perspectives on combatting racketeering
- Witness protection in South Africa
The participants were provided with relevant publications and the legal instruments that were discussed during the workshop.
The workshop and individual presenters were highly rated by the majority of participants. There was specific mention of the excellent work of both the ISS and the PCLU in organising and facilitating the workshop. The ISS was also commended by the National Director of Public Prosecutions for continued engagement with the NPA and for showing commitment to building the capacity of prosecutors.
For future workshops, it might be worth including presentations from Interpol (specifically to cover red notices and the I-24/7 global police communications system). Officials from the Department of Home Affairs and SAPS Crime Intelligence would also benefit from participating at the workshops, as their role is central in effective international cooperation.