Southern African Chief Justices Forum, Namibia 22-25 Sept 2016

  Windhoek, Namibia - From 22 - 25 September 2016 and as a follow-up to the July 2015 Regional Judiciary Retreat held in Swakopmund, Namibia, the Southern African Chief Justices Forum (SACJF) returned to Namibia to hold the 2016 Annual Conference and General Meeting under the theme of "Contemporary Issues in the Prevention of Organised Crime".

The conference was organised by the SACJF Secretariat in partnership with the Office of the Judiciary of Namibia, the African Programme of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the Democratic Governance and Rights Unit (DRGU) in the Faculty of Law, University of Cape Town, with technical support from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as well as the Financial Intelligence Centre, a directorate of the Bank of Namibia.

Delivering the keynote address during the official opening of the conference, the Speaker of the National Assembly of Namibia, Professor Peter Katjavivi, expressed that if organised crime is left unchecked it could have the potential to sabotage national institutions and national security organs to such an extent that states could become ungovernable.

He also indicated that dealing with organised crime is complicated in that most of the aspects are intertwined with each other and they are often transnational. Countries have to ensure that they are signatories to international/trans-boundary conventions which can facilitate trans-boundary duality of legislation dealing with organised crime. He went on to say that legislatures should ratify international treaties and conventions so that the countries can actively fulfil the requirements of such treaties.

In his welcoming remarks, Chief Justice Peter Shivute of Namibia, highlighted that the current legal systems lacked the capacity to deal with the new and complex nature of transnational organised crime. He expressed that most criminal justice systems are generally unprepared and not well-resourced in the face of challenges posed by organised crime, particularly financial crimes and cybercrime.

Chief Justice Shivute made the comments when he welcomed 12 chief justices and 30 judges from various SADC and East African countries, as well as a number of non-judicial officers that were invited to share their expertise and experience on issues affecting member jurisdictions, and to discuss matters of common interest.

Various resource persons and experts from the UNODC under the Asset Recovery Inter-Network Agency for Sout hern Africa (ARINSA), shared their experiences in addressing amongst others, cybercrime, money laundering, transnational organized crime and terrorism over the two days of the conference. The forum had an opportunity to learn from the experts to better anticipate and prepare for the future. This helped to guide the forum towards advancing regional and continental priorities that are aligned to global trends, which address member countries' needs.

The topics shared included: 

  • Financing of Terrorism and Radicalism
  • Trafficking in Persons
  • Money laundering
  • Cybercrime and the Judiciary Responses
  • Guidelines on Judicial Appointments in Africa

Mr Mpho Letsoalo, the President of ARINSA emphasized the need for regional and international cooperation through avariety of networks and informal channels such as ARINSA, in order to be able to deal effectively with transnationally organised crimes.   


Key action points that came out of the meeting included:


  • Judiciary training in all Southern African countries on financial crimes and cybercrime
  • Finalisation of the Judicial Appointments and recommendations