13 July 2023 - Bishoftu, Ethiopia: The IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP) has effectively conducted a Regional Follow-up Meeting on The IGAD Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) and Extradition Frameworks. The purpose of the meeting was to follow up on the recommendations of the previous efforts related to the accession, ratification, domestication, and implementation of the two IGAD conventions.
In addition, it sought to identify the challenges of the Member States regarding the endorsements and joining these two conventions.
The meeting deliberated more on the international legal instruments for cooperation in fighting transnational security threats including terrorism, organized crime, and maritime insecurity; and it looked at the best practices for implementing judicial cooperation, MLA, extradition, and other forms of cooperation and informal networking.
IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP) was established pursuant to the regional peace and security strategy to address Transnational Security Threats (TSTs). The overall objective of IGAD SSP is to promote and strengthen regional and national capacities to better predict, prevent and counter TSTs and thereby contribute to regional peace and stability in the IGAD region. As part of its effort to assist IGAD Member States to combat the existing, evolving, and emerging TSTs. The IGAD SSP has been continuously working with Member States to implement regional and international legal instruments through the promotion of the various respective frameworks within the context of the IGAD region. Also, it facilitates the drafting and adoption of various regional normative frameworks that help in mitigating security threats at the regional level and within Member States. Among these instruments, key efforts in the drafting and signing of the IGAD Conventions on Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) and Extradition, which aim to provide a regional legal instrument for the Member States for proper coordination and cooperation..
This Regional Follow-up Meeting brought together Members of parliaments; the Judiciary, and high-level officials from the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in charge of international law and international cooperation from all IGAD Member States.
This Meeting agenda addressed the emerging, evolving, and existing transnational security threats in the IGAD Region; International legal instruments for international and regional cooperation on criminal matters to combat terrorism and organized crime; Reflections on the experiences of Member States, particularly from Djibouti and Ethiopia, which already join these conventions. Furthermore, the Meeting discussed the synergy between these conventions and the new proposal of IGAD Statute on the Establishment of Regional Cooperation and Coordination Mechanism Against Transnational Security Threats.
On behalf of H.E Doctor Workneh Gebeyehu, Executive Secretary of IGAD; Commander Abebe Muluneh, the Director of IGAD SSP, Head of IGAD Mission to Ethiopia, delivered the key Note speech and expressed his sincerest gratitude to the Government of Ethiopia for hosting this important event. Commander Abebe in his remarks reiterated the efforts in strengethening regional cooperation and coordination by saying “This is a continuation of our efforts for regional cooperation and coordination, building institutional and human capacity and capability of Member States, as well as putting in place the necessary legal instruments. It is a well-known fact that the Member States of IGAD internal cooperation and coordination will be a stepping stone for the regional cooperation with all IGAD Member States in addressing the transnational security threats”.
This regional training was organized with financial support from the European Union through European Union Trust Fund (EUTF), which is being implemented by IGAD SSP and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).