The development of international co-operation and mechanisms to exchange experiences in the investigation and prosecution of drug trafficking at regional and inter-regional level is essential. There is a pressing need for a joined-up and effective approach towards tackling the criminal groups scattered across the regions in the heroin route.
The establishment of a flexible mechanism, such as an informal Network of Prosecutors specialised in the fight against drug trafficking, would become a vehicle to contribute to building trust between countries through direct contact, promoting the exchange of information and identification of best practices in the investigation and prosecution of offences, and improving at a regional level the skills of prosecutors dealing with high profile investigations involving organized crime groups.
Due to the notorious increase of heroin trafficking from Pakistan coast to East Africa through the Indian Ocean, judicial cooperation on drug trafficking investigation in the area has become a compelling need.
EU-ACT has already set up an informal network of investigators in the area and supports the organization of regular meeting among them. This has resulted in an important amount of exchange of information among them and a positive trust building exercise.
EU-ACT has also set up and supports an informal network of prosecutors in the Black Sea (BSPN), which is contributing to cooperation to fight heroin trafficking in the routes that stem from Iran to Azerbaijan and come to the EU through the countries around the Black Sea.
Following those examples, the Project is determined to support the setting up and guiding the first steps of an informal network of prosecutors in the East African & Indian Ocean region. The project is aware of the existence of other prosecutor´ networks in the region, however they are focusing on other issues (terrorism, and piracy).
In initial contacts with the East African Association of Prosecutors (EAAP- an existing regional mechanism of General Prosecutor´s Offices that meets at the highest level at least once a year) it was found that EAAP was the best umbrella of an informal network of drug prosecutors in the region. In those preliminary contacts, the current EAAP president expressed his interest in this initiative.