On 13 April, the third annual Joan Kagezi Memorial Lecture on the theme of “Combating International and Transnational Organised Crime: Lessons Learnt and Best Practices” took place at Hotel Africana. The event, which was organized by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in partnership with WAYAMO Foundation, celebrated the life of Joan Kagezi, a senior prosecutor in Uganda’s International Crimes Division, who was assassinated in March 2015.
Joan Kagezi was murdered while working on prominent cases in a transnational and international context, such as the prosecution of Thomas Kwoyelo – a top leader of the LRA, the notorious rebel group in Northern Uganda committing unspeakable atrocities which were not restricted to Uganda but spread within the region.
Another example of her well known work that shows the necessity of effective cross-border prosecution and legal cooperation between states in the East African region and beyond are the investigations conducted on the horrible attacks in Kampala during the World Cup in 2010, costing at least 76 innocent lives, carried out by al-Shabaab and involving terrorists with different national backgrounds. Al-Shabaab misused the international engagement of Uganda in the AMISOM peacekeeping mission in Somalia for justifying these attacks.
The murder of Joan Kagezi as the main face of these investigations showed in a painful way what personal dangers crime fighters face. Therefore a constant improvement of the capacity of the national legal systems is needed as well as intensified inter-agency collaboration and knowledge exchange to deal effectively with complex international and trans-border crimes.
The memorial Lecture event was preceded by a training workshop on 12 April with the focus on the fight against international and transnational organized crimes. In line with the Wayamo Foundation’s mandate and mission, the aim of the workshop was to build local capacities in order to address core international crimes and transnational organized crimes domestically. This workshop was designed to put the principle of complementarity into effective practice, whilst simultaneously fostering co-operation between the international criminal justice community and national legal actors.