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CRIMJUST: Strengthening criminal justice along drug trafficking routes

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Organised crime and corruption weakens institutions

Drug trafficking threatens governance and the rule of law and facilitates corruption. This in turn reinforces the drug trade, creating a mutually reinforcing cycle. Where weak criminal justice institutions and drug trafficking come together, ordinary people suffer, caught up in violence, extortion and drug addiction. Laundered money from drug trafficking also contributes to reductions in economic growth and reinforces the unequal distribution of wealth.

Among the most lucrative and damaging forms of drug trafficking is the cocaine trade. Over recent years, the cocaine trade has expanded from its original concentration in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia to the entire Latin America region. At the same time, Europe has become the world’s fastest growing market for cocaine. The two main routes through which cocaine reaches Europe are through the Caribbean and, more recently, West Africa where drug cartels have taken advantage of institutional weaknesses, high corruption levels and unguarded coastlines to establish new routes for trafficking.

News feature: Strengthening the rule of law along the cocaine route

Find out about our national chapters' work with JustLEAD.

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Making criminal justice institutions more resilient

To help address the problem, Transparency International (TI) is implementing the CrimJust Phase II project that seeks to strengthen institutional integrity and accountability for effective action of criminal justice institutions, with a special focus on trans-regional organized crime and drug trafficking. This project builds on the Justice and Law Enforcement Accountability Dashboard (JustLead), an institutional assessments developed during Phase I of the CrimJust project.

Drawing on an analysis of national legal frameworks and local social, economic and political conditions, participating TI national chapters carried out an in-depth assessment of three criminal justice bodies - each charged with one of the three criminal justice functions of investigation, prosecution, and adjudication of organised crime cases. Each institution was assessed based on their compliance with international standards and best practices.

Based on the results of the JustLead assessment, TI national chapters in Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Nigeria and Panama are working together with criminal justice institutions and relevant stakeholders at the national and international level to reduce corruption risks and increase transparency and accountability in the sector by adopting and implementing specific recommendations.

The CRIMJUST Project is a joint initiative funded by the European Union, implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in partnership with INTERPOL and Transparency International.

The project supports implementation in Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Nigeria and Panama.

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