Distinguished heads of various prosecuting agencies from across Africa converged on the 30th of October at Le Meriden Hotel, Pointe Aux Piments, Mauritius for the 13th Africa Prosecutors Association Conference. The Conference created a platform for prosecuting agencies in Africa to discuss daunting challenges faced by respective jurisdictions in the fight against crime in the fast changing global environment.
The conference programme was geared towards encouraging fruitful discussions on topics of interest linked to prosecutorial independence as well as bolstering the rule of law.
Mr. Satyajit Boolell, Director of Public Prosecutions Mauritius, in his opening remarks thanked the heads and delegates, and stated that close collaboration is the key to staying ahead of the curve in the common endeavour of grappling with crimes, both domestic and transnational and to foster cooperation and networking among prosecutors of Africa.
Representing CWAG AAP Ms. Jahna Lindemuth, Attorney General (AG) of Alaska, addressed the plenary session on the Rule of law and prosecutorial independence. She informed the audience that the AG is appointed in Alaska as opposed to being elected. “Elected AGs may be influenced by those who fund their elections. Appointed AGs may be influenced by the executive that selected them. It is critical for AGs to fulfill both aspects of their role – advocacy with fairness to avoid wrongful convictions and avoid the abuse of prosecutorial discretion and the role of the prosecutor – to move to convict”. AG Lindemuth also described her role in the Fairbanks Four case in which the wrongful convictions of four Alaskans was overturned and the convicted were exonerated.
Ms. Lillian Fulata -Director of Public Prosecutions Zambia leading the session on Rule of Law: Prosecutorial Independence and Accountability, stated that “It is through accountability that independence of the prosecutors become meaningful.”