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21 mars 2014

INTERPOL anti-piracy meeting reviews key evidence against network leaders

PORT LOUIS, Mauritius – Reviewing key evidence and information sharing was the focus of a two-day (20 and 21 March) meeting under the umbrella of INTERPOL’s Maritime Security unit as part of it Evidence Exploitation Initiative (EVEXI) project targeting maritime piracy in East Africa.

Investigators from all five EVEXI II countries and representatives from the Regional Fusion Law Enforcement Centre for Safety and Security at Sea (REFELCS3) met to identify ways to better coordinate efforts in targeting not only suspected pirates captured at sea, but also the international criminal networks involved in illicit financing and facilitation.

The EVEXI II project, funded by Norway, was launched in August 2013. Its objectives are to build the investigative and forensics capacity of Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Somalia and Tanzania, and to coordinate information sharing as well as mutual legal assistance across jurisdictions conducting parallel investigations into Somali piracy networks.

Created by INTERPOL’s Maritime Piracy Task Force in January 2012, the first Project EVEXI was a one-year strategic initiative to provide immediate aid to the law enforcement community by providing a framework for the systematic and coordinated exchange of information.

Under EVEXI, a series of standardized procedures were developed including for interviewing captured pirates and released hostages, gathering legally admissible physical and testimonial evidence, and sharing of intelligence to support existing and future investigations and prosecutions.

Information entered into INTERPOL’s Global Maritime Piracy Database enables a global analysis of pirate networks and the identification of high-value targets and their assets. INTERPOL Red Notices, or internationally wanted persons alerts, have now been issued for a number of key individuals in the networks.