In a “Regional Judges’ Colloquium on Maritime Crimes” held on July 29, 2022, Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recognized the role of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs in supporting a regional program to disrupt transnational organized crime in East and Southern Africa. The United States, with the UNODC as an implementing partner, is supporting Mauritius to interdict, investigate, and prosecute maritime crimes. The program includes support for a UNODC mentor, who will work with the Mauritius National Coast Guard on maritime domain awareness and maritime law enforcement, providing both mentorship and training to interdict vessels based on actionable information.
The UNODC Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP) supports member states, through its mandate, to develop capacity to disrupt criminal activity within the maritime domain. Adjudication is an important and challenging aspect to effectively prosecuting criminals and it is crucial that judges in the region consult each other, and together find solutions to strengthen the criminal chain at the national and regional level.
In the last three years, U.S. support has enabled the UNODC to provide funding to the Mauritius Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, which has included hosting a conference on reinforcing the criminal chains of maritime crimes at the national, regional, and international levels. U.S. support has also facilitated regional events, such as the Prosecutor’s Network in December 2021. The UNODC has funded the maritime security program for Mauritius and other countries in East and Southern Africa through a $14 million, three-year grant from the Department of State.
The United States continues to look for ways to include Mauritius in regional law enforcement and justice sector engagements to increase regional cooperation to disrupt transnational organized crime.