Pretoria, South Africa – South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is preparing its prosecutors to effectively handle complex crimes like terrorism, organised crime and international crime. A training course completed last week was delivered jointly by the NPA and the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and is the seventh annual exercise for prosecutors from across the country.
Transnational crime is a continuous threat to South Africa. The government should not only protect its citizens from these crimes, but is also obliged to work with international counterparts to ensure that South Africa is not a safe-haven for offenders.
‘The need to extradite or prosecute those accused of terrorism and international crime places an immense responsibility on the NPA, its stakeholders and South Africa as a whole,’ said Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions Adv Nomvula Mokhatla at the opening of the course.
‘South-Africa is a responsible member of the international community and plays an active role in efforts by the United Nations and African Union to combat terrorism, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.’
‘The aim of this training course goes beyond building capacity. We hope to strengthen public confidence in the NPA’s ability to deal with such matters, and build trust locally and abroad in the administration of justice in South Africa’.
Experts from the NPA, the ISS, the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation, the Office for Witness Protection and the private sector trained prosecutors and other justice officials on international and local laws governing terrorism, asset forfeiture, international crimes as defined by the International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute, and mutual legal assistance and extradition.
‘The topics under discussion are of fundamental importance to the NPA,’ said Mokhatla. The deputy national director commended the inclusion of special sessions on lessons from organised crime cases, and the vital role of witness protection.
‘The most fundamental principle of a successful prosecution is the strength of the state’s case. That can only be achieved by ensuring the safety of your witnesses and protecting the integrity of your evidence.’ This is especially relevant for terrorism, organised crime and international crime.
The ISS and the NPA have a long-standing partnership to build the capacity of South Africa’s prosecutors.
‘Transnational threats and international crime undermine development, good governance and democracy in Africa,’ said Cheryl Frank, head of the Transnational Threats and International Crime division at the ISS. ‘Our research, technical support and training for investigators, prosecutors and judicial officers helps to strengthen capacity to deal with complex crimes.’
The NPA and the ISS also recently collaborated to produce a counter-terrorism training manual for prosecutors across the continent. At the request of the Africa Prosecutors’ Association, Adv Shaun Abrahams from the NPA’s Priority Crimes Litigation Unit was elected as the lead drafter of the manual, which was launched in October 2014 in Kinshasa.
For media enquiries, contact:
Ottilia Maunganidze, ISS: +27 82 588 9755, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bulelwa Makeke, NPA: +27 84 702 5617, email@example.com