Government supports all initiatives towards strengthening the rule of law and is equally determined to combat transnational organised crimes with the implementation of several measures including the setting up of the Commission of Inquiry on Drug Trafficking and ongoing works on the drafting of the Police and Criminal Justice Bill.

This statement was made by the Attorney General, Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Institutional Reforms, Mr Maneesh Gobin, yesterday at the opening of the 13th Africa Prosecutors Association (APA) Conference and Annual General Meeting at the Le Méridien Hotel in Pointe aux Piments. The President of the APA, Mr Helder Fernando Pitta Groz, who is also the Attorney General of Angola and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mr Satyajit Boolell, were present.

Minister Gobin spoke of the Justice system in Mauritius where, he said, law officers are selected by an independent appointing authority namely the Judicial and Legal Service Commission adding that the appointment mechanism is independent and free from political interferences.

With regard to the theme of the APA conference, he emphasised the importance for prosecutors to uphold the rule of law while ensuring fair, impartial and effective justice which protects both public and private interests of the person concerned. He appealed to the participants to propose a faster method for effectively processing requests seeking mutual legal assistance.

The Minister also expressed gratitude to the African countries as well as the African Union for their invaluable assistance in the legal battle against the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from the Mauritian territory. This assistance testifies the existing friendly ties between Mauritius and Africa, he added.

The President of the APA, Mr Groz, on his part, expressed his appreciation to the Mauritian Government for bringing a number of reforms to the justice system to achieve greater equity and social justice.

As regards the APA conference, he pointed out that it will help address topical issues relating to justice with a particular emphasis on transnational organised crimes. He also advocated for the implementation of a common mechanism which is key to fostering cooperation and networking among prosecutors of Africa.

The DPP, Mr Satyajit Boolell, for his part, highlighted the pivotal role of the prosecutor in ensuring justice for the people while upholding principles of honesty, ethics and professionalism. Independence and accountability are the pre-requisites for a public prosecutor to do his job effectively, he stated.

The conference, said the DPP, is geared towards encouraging fruitful discussions in ensuring prosecutorial independence as well as bolstering the rule of law. It also presents an excellent opportunity for prosecuting agencies to meet and discuss daunting challenges faced by various jurisdictions in the fight against crime especially, in a fast changing global environment, he remarked.

The APA Conference and Annual General Meeting

Some 150 delegates of prosecuting agencies from Mauritius, Angola, Malawi, Kenya, Madagascar, France and United States of America, amongst others, are attending the Conference which focuses on the theme Prosecutorial Independence and Accountability: A prerequisite of the Rule of Law. It is organised by the APA and the Office of the DPP, and is being held from 30th October to 1st November 2018.

Plenary sessions are addressing, amongst others, the following topics: Rule of law and prosecutorial independence and accountability; Recovering the proceeds of crime; Enhancing rule of law through mutual legal assistance; and Wildlife crime and corruption.

It is to be noted that a Mutual Legal Assistance Handbook was also launched, on that occasion, to inform prosecutors on the potential challenges they may face when embarking on a request for mutual legal assistance.

Source: Government of Mauritius