Regional conference on judicial cooperation in the MENA region launched in Bahrain
Manama, 22 March 2022 – The EU Global Facility on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (EU GF-AML/CFT) on Tuesday kicked off a regional conference on judicial cooperation in the MENA region, in collaboration with the Siracusa International Institute for criminal justice and human rights organised with the support of the Public Prosecution of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Held under the title ‘Strengthening Judicial Cooperation in the MENA Region: Judges and Prosecutors at the Forefront of the Fight against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing’, the three-day event is witnessing the participation of 70 participants from 18 countries of the MENA region.
“We are delighted to be here today with such great attendance. It is with pleasure that we see the level of dedication to judicial cooperation, a topic at the heart of the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing,” said EU Global Facility Team Leader David Hotte in his welcoming remarks.
“It is particularly impressive to witness participants from so many countries committed to the deepening of collaborative measures to ensure the due recovery of proceeds from organised crime and terrorist activities,” he added, thanking the Kingdom of Bahrain and all representatives for their attendance.
For his part, Jean-François Thony, President of the Siracusa Institute, highlighted the importance of the event, stating: ‘‘this conference is one-of its kind. Indeed, seeing judges and prosecutors from so many countries gathered in one room to cooperate on AML/CFT is unique, especially in this region. Too often we forget the importance of judges and prosecutors in the AML/CFT process but not today.”
“International collaboration of this level is of particular importance for the Siracusa Institute, which is at the forefront of the fight against organised crime in the Mediterranean and has made of the improvement of criminal justice systems one of its core missions.”
The conference is part of a series of activities organised by the EU GF-AML/CFT and the Siracusa Institute aimed at strengthening international judicial co-operation and the efficient application of existing MLA standards and international instruments by judges and prosecutors.
In a video message, Regional Counsellor on counterterrorism and security at the EU Delegation to Bahrain, Philippe Cormier, stated “this conference is an illustration of the fast and strong development of our common ambition to develop and deepen judicial cooperation in the MENA region and work to facilitate judicial cooperation with the EU, in a result oriented way.”
“Today, with this EU-MENA conference on judicial cooperation, our common interest is to extend the level of trust developed between EU Member States to the judicial relation we have between EU and MENA Member States,” he added.
Topics tackled during the conference included:
- What works and does not work for judicial cooperation on AML/CFT matters: A high-level situation analysis for the MENA region
- Countering the financing of terrorism: a specific challenge for the MENA region
- National strategies to ensure effective investigations and prosecutions relating to anti-money laundering (AML), counter-terrorist financing (CTF) and counter-proliferation
- Best practices for money laundering and financial investigations and prosecutions, and criminal asset recovery
- Constitutional arguments as obstacles to judicial cooperation: Contrasting myth and reality
- Improving the capacity of investigators and judicial systems to turn intelligence into evidence
- International experiences and best practices with governmental and social reuse of confiscated criminal assets
- Improving judicial cooperation in the MENA region: listing effective tools