In order to support the development of guidance material to prosecute waste crimes, in partnership with the United Nations University (UNU), the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) held a consultative meeting on Tuesday 17 December 2019, at the United Nations Conference Centre, in Bangkok. The consultative meeting formed an important contribution to the WasteForce project which aims at boosting the operational activities and capacities of authorities involved in the fight against illegal trade and management of waste.
A total of 21 participants joined in the day-long consultation. Participants represented prosecutors, legal training institutes and environmental protection and customs agents from seven countries in the region and also included representatives from UNEP, Interpol, WCO and UNODC.
The aims of the consultative meeting were to identify needs and challenges in the development of a guidance material on prosecuting waste crime that would be useful for countries in the region, to gather feedback on the content of the guidance material on prosecuting waste crime and identify key stakeholders and institutions for further participation in the WasteForce project implementation in Asia-Pacific in Bangkok in June 2020.
Prosecutors are, of course, a key stakeholder in the enforcement chain. In order to address the illegal trade and management of waste, prosecutors need to be aware not only of national legal avenues for prosecution but also for transnational waste trade, the developments in the laws of source countries and in international law.
This consultation meeting provided a platform for input into the development of guiding material which will support the role of prosecutors – providing targeted and practical information to assist in the successful prosecutions in the region.
Six topic areas were discussed by the participants;
- Scope of the Prosecution: Documentation Violations, Illegal Waste, Illegal Transport or Disposal
- Cooperation with Agencies during Investigation: Other Department, International Agencies
- Evidence: Collecting Evidence, Obtaining electronic evidence, Sampling of Evidence, International Requests
- Choosing the Type of Case: Administrative, Civil, Criminal and Send Back cases.
- Supporting Materials: Assessment of Environmental Harm, Prosecution Guidelines, Sentencing Guidelines
- Other Issues
The group discussion addressed these issues and a variety of recommendations and perspectives were shared. In addition to providing essential input to the development of tools for prosecuting waste crime, the consultative meeting also provided an opportunity for the development of connections between colleagues from the region. Effective disruption of waste crime requires not only knowledge but also requires strong partnerships between prosecutors and enforcement agencies (customs and port authorities, environmental agencies and police agents). The WasteForce project seeks to build relationships between authorities within nations, regionally and on both sides of the transnational waste trade that can continue after the project and effectively disrupt the illegal trafficking of waste. We hope to continue to foster these relationships as the project implementation continues throughout 2020.