In June 2023, the IIJ convened the Workshop on Improving Mutual Legal Assistance Mechanisms between Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania within the framework of the Global Central Authorities Initiative. The event was organized with the generous financial support of the Government of the United States as part of follow-up to the Kinshasa Ministerial Conference that took place in June 2022.
The three-day workshop fostered formal and informal cooperation among Central and competent authorities for mutual legal assistance (MLA) and extradition in Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania, and identified concrete ways to improve the exchange of evidence and suspects in criminal cases, focusing primarily on terrorism and terrorist financing offences.
The participants presented overviews of the policy frameworks and institutional settings for MLA and extradition in their countries, discussed gaps and areas for possible improvement, exchanged views and suggestions on existing challenges in processing requests, and established professional networks. The national delegations also divided into breakout sessions to develop plans of action for their respective countries, with the ultimate goal of raising the effectiveness of the existing MLA and extradition procedures.
The IIJ drew on its significant expertise and experience in MLA, in particular the IIJ Good Practices for Central Authorities, which long has become an internationally-recognized guide to provide a framework for establishing and maintaining durable institutions dealing with MLA and extradition. The workshop also referenced key operational documents, such as of the Rabat Memorandum on Good Practices for Effective Counterterrorism Practice in the Criminal Justice Sector, in particular the Good Practice 9, which recommends that states develop practices and procedures to encourage international cooperation in counterterrorism matters.
Our hope is that the workshop will have a long-term impact by prompting changes in daily practice as well as regulation. To continue the advances from this workshop, therefore, the IIJ plans to work with each of the three countries to monitor progress and provide further assistance.