WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS), the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL), the government of Cape Verde and the U.S. Embassy in Cape Verde welcomed legal maritime experts to the Trans-Atlantic Maritime Criminal Justice Workshop for ECOWAS Zone G Countries (Cape Verde, Gambia and Senegal) in Praia, Cape Verde February 27-March 1, 2013. The three-day event provided a venue for representatives from various agencies responsible for maritime safety and security to evaluate the relationship between maritime crime, related criminal justice gaps and capacity building in West Africa.
In his keynote remarks, Mr. Carlos Jose Correia, Minister of Justice of Cape Verde, stressed the importance of building a robust maritime criminal justice capacity in West Africa. He urged ECOWAS Zone G countries to work together to promote security and sovereignty on the seas. “We can only achieve this if we are able to be united sovereign nations,” he said.
Discussing the current and emerging maritime threats, Mr. Carlos Reis, National Director of Judicial Police, said he hoped for strong cooperation with countries in Africa as well as Brazil and Europe to find long lasting solutions.
In her remarks, Ambassador Adrienne O’Neal, U.S. Ambassador to Cape Verde, pointed out the timeliness of this seminar. She thanked ACSS and the organizations that partnered together for this event. “The commitment by the U.S. Government in Africa has been long and deep,” she said, and the Africa Center’s launch in 1999 marked “the epiphany of how we think about security. We started to think about security in a global sense.”
Experts participating in the workshop discussed the multidimensional nature of maritime security challenges and the implications of maritime insecurity. The goal is to provide West Africa coastal states’ law enforcement and criminal justice sector, and ECOWAS officials with best practices in maritime security.
This workshop was the first in a series of meetings focused on building capacity in the maritime criminal justice sector of different ECOWAS maritime zones. Two additional workshops are scheduled for in 2013.
The Africa Center is the pre-eminent institution for strategic security studies, research, and outreach in Africa. The Center engages African partner states and institutions through rigorous academic and outreach programs that build strategic capacity and foster long-term, collaborative relationships. Over the past 13 years, more than 6,000 African and international leaders have participated in over 200 ACSS academic programs.