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Training Workshop on Electronic Surveillance as a Good Practice in Preventing and Countering Terrorism in the Horn and Eastern Africa Region

20 September 2016, Mombasa:  IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP), in partnership with the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), held a three-days Training Workshop – from 15 to 17 September 2016 – on Electronic Surveillance as a Good Practice in Preventing and Countering Terrorism in the Horn and Eastern Africa Region in Mombasa, Kenya.

 

Mr. Edwin Okello, Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecution of Kenya welcomed the participants and wished a successful stay in Mombasa. Mary Futcher, a senior prosecutor under the US Department of Justice, who also spoke representing the government of the United States, applauded the participants and the Region to their commitment in the fight against terrorism.

 

The Workshop officially opened by Commander Abebe Muluneh, Director of IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP). Commander Abebe highlighted the various forms of electronic surveillance, and their importance to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute serious criminal activities including terrorism. He further underlined that four major changes have promoted a need to transform both the tools of electronic surveillance and national legislations: technology, perception of threats, interpretation of human rights, and ownership of telecoms. 

 

He emphasized that the principles or policy considerations, which limit the use of electronic evidence surveillance in the investigation of serious crimes like terrorism has to include (1) Necessity: that the use of electronic evidence gathering is necessary to gather the evidence or information required, (2) Subsidiarity: that other less intrusive forms of inquiry or investigation are not sufficient to gather the confidentiality: that there are mechanisms in place to protect the confidentiality of the information obtained, including the privacy of third parties not the subject of the authorization or warrant, (3) Judicial control: that the process of evidence gathering overseen by judge or independent other of a certain requisite and specified level of authority, and (4) Proportionality: that intrusion into privacy is proportionate to the seriousness of the suspected offence and the evidence it is anticipated will be obtained.

The training workshop thoroughly discussed on various issues of electronic surveillance in relation to countering terrorism, including:

  • Lawful Forms of:  Wiretapping; Tracking Devices; and other Tracking Devices
  • The Role of Electronic Surveillance in Preventing Terrorism
  • Processes of initiating and conducting electronic surveillance
  • Presenting evidence derived electronic surveillance in the Court of Law
  • Assessing Domestic laws that authorize electronic surveillance
  • Electronic surveillance and issues of human rights: the balance between security and civil liberties
  • International cooperation in electronic surveillance: Opportunities and challenges

High-level diplomats from ministries of Foreign Affairs, senior judicial officials, prosecutors, and experienced law enforcement authorities represented from IGAD Member States, plus Tanzania have attended the training Workshop; actively participated and shared their experiences in the use and benefits of electronic surveillance in preventing and countering terrorism.

 

The Workshop also brought resource persons, from within the region and outside who shared their expertise, experiences and good practices. Participants recognized the role electronic surveillance plays in the fight against terrorism. They also appreciated the training workshop that it has been valuable in enhancing their capacity and drawing lessons on good practices from each other. In addition, they identified legislative and institutional gaps in their respective domestic jurisdictions with regard use of electronic surveillance and the challenges of balancing security and privacy of citizens.

 

This Workshop is the 8th, in a series of training workshops that are jointly organized by IGAD SSP and GCTF with the financial support from the US Government under the theme: “Building Capacity and Promoting the Rabat Memorandum on Good Practices for Effective Counterterrorism Practice in the Criminal Justice Sector in the Horn of Africa Region.” 

 

Forty-seven participants, drawn from seven countries, attended the training workshop.  (END) 

 

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