Chief Justice Martha Koome has advocated for robust enforcement of laws and adoption of new strategies to combat the fast evolving Transnational Organised Crimes and Illicit Financial Flows.
While addressing Judiciary Training Institutes, Judges and Judicial Officers from 21 African countries in Mombasa, CJ Koome noted that Transnational Organised Crimes and Illicit Financial Flows are not just legal issues but also pose deep-seated threat to the social fabric, economies, and governance structures which threaten the shared vision of a prosperous, secure and peaceful Africa.
“From Cape Town to Cairo, Dakar to Mogadishu, we have all witnessed how transnational crimes disrupt our societies. Human trafficking, narcotics trade, illegal arms dealing, cybercrime, wildlife poaching, counterfeiting, and the alarming growth of illicit financial flows have cast a shadow over our developmental aspirations,” said CJ Koome
Justice Koome said according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), transnational organized crime generates an estimated 2.7 percent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with an annual value of approximately U.S. $ 1.6 trillion.
“These illicit profits fuel corruption, undermine governance, erode the rule of law and threaten the stability of states and regions,” noted Judge Koome.
The CJ was concerned that the most vulnerable in the societies bear the brunt of these crimes. From children ensnared in human trafficking rings to communities wrecked by drug epidemics. She called on judiciaries to play a more pronounced role in punishing and deterring Transnational Organised Crime and Illicit Financial Flows.
“Given the transnational nature of these crimes, the courts have a duty to facilitate international cooperation through mechanisms like extradition and mutual legal assistance,” urged the CJ.
The CJ highlighted the need to continually evolve, learn, and train judiciaries to address the changing face of crime.
“I am a believer that as criminals adapt to the modern world, so must we in law enforcement and administration of justice also adapt to the contemporary world. As they evolve, so must our strategies and tactics,” said the CJ
She called on Judiciary Training Institutes (JTIs) to become paramount in shaping a regional response, enhancing judicial capacities, and pioneering jurisprudence on Transnational Organised Crimes and Illicit Financial Flows.
Speaking during the same event, Chief Justice of the Federal Supreme Court of Ethiopia, Tewodros Kebede, underscored the need to develop indigenous jurisprudence on transnational organized crime and illicit financial flows.
“It is my strong belief that we need to learn and in particular learn from a neighbor with whom we share a lot. For centuries, we have been borrowing and importing laws and institutions which could not solve the problems we face in real life.”
He observed that there is need to lead regional and continental cooperation of judiciaries with a view to ensuring that the rule of law and justice prevail throughout Africa.
The Director of the Kenya Judiciary Academy Justice Dr. Smokin Wanjala noted that as countries strengthen their individual systems, the region must also collaborate and cooperate in dealing with this menace.
“Judicial Training Institutes must be the driving force in tackling the continent’s challenges by integrating training on transnational organized crime and illicit financial flows into their judicial education strategies, curricula, programmes and plans,” said Justice Wanjala.
Judiciary Training Institutes, Judges and Judicial Officers are gathered in Mombasa for a three-day Judicial Dialogue to discuss experiences, challenges and potential solutions in the adjudication of different forms of Transnational Organised Crime and Illicit Financial Flows.