In June 2022, the IIJ in partnership with the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Office of the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes (OSESG-GL) convened the Great Lakes Regional Ministerial Conference on Enhancing Judicial Cooperation. The conference, held in Kinshasa with support from the Government of the United States capped more than two years of drafting, revision and debate resulting in ministerial delegations from 12 ICGLR Member States adopting a list of commitments and a set of model guidelines to improve regional cross-border exchange of information in criminal cases.
The documents, initially drafted by the IIJ and now formally dubbed the Kinshasa Declaration, commit to create, staff and train the central authorities that manage information requests; improve processes for mutual legal assistance; and develop a regional training plan to support practitioners. The declaration is rooted in the IIJ Good Practices for Central Authorities and draws on feedback the IIJ gathered during bilateral and regional programs with practitioners, and on commentary not only from the participating delegations, but from experts at the U.S. Department of Justice Office of International Affairs and the United Kingdom Central Authority.
The model guidelines were formally attached as an annex and will guide ICGLR Member States to develop their own country-specific standardised procedural Guidelines for MLA in criminal cases. Delegates also adopted a list of priority next steps, including national working groups and country-specific action plans. The IIJ will remain in contact with the Great Lakes Judicial Cooperation Network to support implementation of the declaration and action plans.
For more information on this workshop, please contact IIJ Director of Programmes, Gail Malone.