The Dublin Conference – outcome report of the 21st Annual Conference and General Meeting of the IAP
The main purpose of IAP’s 21st Annual Conference and General Meeting in Dublin was to bring together prosecutors, prosecution services and prosecution associations in a global examination of the relationships between prosecutors and investigators . Over the course of five days, with plenary sessions and keynote speeches, workshops and special interest group meetings, 544 prosecutors from 89 countries from six continents of the world joined together in a constructive comparative discussion of this often complex relationship between the investigator and prosecutor and the many substantive areas of criminal law in which it is practiced. A record 102 prosecutors and other professionals contributed actively to the professional conference programme. The available reports and contributions to the conference sessions are available on the IAP-website.
The relationship between the investigator and prosecutor
We would do well to remind ourselves of the size and the diversity of our global community. Covering more than 175 jurisdictions, our discussions on what is at stake in the relationship between investigators and prosecutors, how to best structure these relationships, how to organize daily practice domestically and transnationally, and how to ensure that standards of human rights are observed from investigation through to trial, necessarily involves a complex comparative element. Every major legal tradition of the world is involved as are prosecution services that are organized under markedly diverse political cultures. This is a condition that all prosecutors know well. Our daily work across borders increasingly involves questions with a lot of unknowns. So, of course, it is a significant output of the conference that so many highly skilled prosecutors from every corner of the world came together for five days of sessions to discuss the relationship between the prosecutor and investigator from the point of view of their many and diverse domestic and international experiences.
There are both specific and general lessons to take from the conference’s presentations and discussions. Each delegate surely returned home with his or her own lessons from the conference. Here, we will mention four general points which the IAP has taken from the conference discussions and will be incorporating into its work in the coming years.
First, in our professional programmes, we should do more to include the point of view of investigators and the relationship between prosecutors and investigators. This concerns our programmes in the spheres of domestic, transnational and international criminal justice.
Second, regardless of which organizational framework is employed, there is real scope for improvement in all substantive criminal law areas in securing a constructive collaboration between the prosecutor and the investigator – but one which simultaneously allows for institutional checks and balances and the safeguard of human rights during the investigation in particular.
Third, in both the investigation and the prosecution of cases, there is in many jurisdictions the continuing difficult task of ensuring that these functions remain independenent from political pressure. No matter how the organizational frameworks are designed, the prosecutor has a particularly central role in dealing with this challenge.
Fourth, there continues to be a need for rapid cross-border collaboration between prosecutors, and more energy must be invested into supporting effective MLA processes. Particular attention should be placed on ensuring more efficient processes to request legal assistance from regional and global communication providers – providers who today hold significant amounts of intelligence and evidence which is necessary to advance criminal cases. It will be necessary to work out better rights-based ways of working with these many communication providers.
Other practical results of the Conference
The conference also hosted many specialised networks and communities, each dedicating high level workshop sessions on cutting edge challenges and best practices. These included:
· Forum for International Criminal Justice (FICJ)
· Prosecution of Conflict Related Sexual Violence (PSV)
· Global prosecutors E-crime Network (GPEN)
· Network for Anti-Corruption Prosecutors (NACP)
· Counter-Terrorism Prosecutors network (CTPN)
· Trafficking of Persons Platform (TIPP)
· Network of Associations of Prosecutors
· Prosecutors Exchange Programme (PEP)
· Military Prosecution Network (explorative)
· Environmental Prosecution Network (explorative)
The attendance of these special interest group workshops was overwhelming. Each specialised network welcomed many new members into their global networks. In the NACP, a strong governing board set the direction of work for the coming year. Furthermore, the Scottish Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal presented the outcome of a comparative survey of domestic best practices in asset recovery. The CTPN hosted a special morning session to advance its aim to build a global supporting system to increase the efficiency of MLA in counter-terrorism investigations and prosecutions, and legal assistance requests made to private communication providers. The project is a collaboration with UN CTED and UNODC. For the first time the military prosecutors of the world met to discuss cutting edge global issues of shared concern and to explore the possibilities of formalising a professional network under the framework of the IAP. Finally, for the first time the IAP hosted a meeting of prosecutors specialised in environmental crime to explore the possibilities of formalising such a global network. Both explorations had a positive outcome.
Safety and Security of prosecutors is at the very heart of IAP’s activities and Dublin marked an important milestone. Carl Prophet (CA), introduced by Paula Llewellyn (JAM), presented the 2016 pilot survey of prosecutors’ perception of their safety and security to the plenary.
The conference also marked the signing of the first Memorandum of Understanding between the IAP and the African Prosecutors Association (APA), with a view to strengthening our collaboration towards our shared goals.
The IAP also observed with great satisfaction that the conference was used to facilitate hundreds of bilateral meetings between prosecution services from all regions of the world. It has become an extremely important part of the annual meeting and conference to facilitate these bilateral meetings and the high number of formal and informal bilateral meetings was, in and of itself, an important outcome for the IAP.
How are these outcomes reflected in the IAP work-programme for the coming year?
In the coming three years, 2016-2018, the IAP will pursue three overall goals in its programmes:
Connect prosecutors globally
Raise the Standard of Prosecution Practice globally
Bring the IAP standards to life
Many of the outcomes of the Dublin conference speak directly to these central goals. The full agenda of 2016-2018 with priorities for 2017 can be found online on the IAP website. While I encourage you to to review the full professional programme, the following concrete goals are highlighted here:
The IAP will implement a more efficient system to routinely update the IAP contact database and will update the current database and its contact information. The goal is to complete 25 % of the full update by September 2017.
The IAP will expand and strengthen the specialized networks and communities which have been shaped over the last four years. We aim to have established governing boards for all operative specialised networks and communities and to expand the membership basis for the three newest networks: CTPN and NACP and the Military Prosecution Network.
The IAP will facilitate the finalisation of the MLA best practice manual by September 2017.
The IAP will present a programme for a new specialised course for prosecutors to the Executive Committee by September 2017.
Reflecting the importance of the individual safety and security of prosecutors and the need to develop tools that are based on the actual needs of prosecutors and prosecution authorities to safeguard prosecutors, the IAP will, based on the lesson learned in the pilot study in 2016, carry out a survey of the safety and security of prosecutors in all regions of the world. These results will be presented at the Annual Conference in Beijing in September 2017.
The IAP will continue to target the challenge of political interference with prosecutors and prosecution services,. The IAP will commence the development of best practice guidelines, addressing how best to deal with these challenges and secure political independence and legal accountability in prosecution practice.
October 25, 2016
Rasmus H. Wandall
General Counsel of IAP