Get to Know: International Association of Prosecutors

By Elizabeth Howe, OBE, LLB, General Counsel, International Association of Prosecutors

NAAG enjoys an institutional membership in the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP). IAP membership is open to both law enforcement organizations and individual attorneys who work for those organizations. The NAAG-IAP relationship is expanding rapidly and has been mutually beneficial with both organizations drawing upon the expertise of the other. As the world shrinks and criminal and civil issues increasingly cross national borders, transnational relationships and efforts are becoming more important. Get to know the IAP mission and the benefits of membership.

The International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) is the only worldwide association of prosecutors and has been in existence for over 15 years. It is a non-governmental, non-political organisation and was established as a response to the rapid growth in transnational crime in June 1995 at the United Nations offices in Vienna.

The IAP Vision

The IAP is an international community of prosecutors committed to setting and raising standards of professional conduct and ethics for prosecutors worldwide; promoting the rule of law, fairness, impartiality and respect for human rights and improving international cooperation to combat crime. Its mission is to be a world authority for prosecutors in the conduct of criminal prosecutions and associated matters and to operate as an organisation of international repute and referral.

The IAP numbers over 140 organisational members and over 1,000 individual members from every region in the world and holds special consultative status with The UN Social & Economic Council. It works in cooperation with many regional and international organisations such as the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, The Council of Europe, International Bar Association, American Bar Association, United Nations Development Programme, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the International Legal Assistance Consortium, and International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law, among others.

The Association’s executive committee is drawn from all regions of the world and elects a president and six vice presidents. It also appoints two officials, the secretary general who is responsible for the day to day administration of the Association and a general counsel who is responsible for the association’s work programme. A communication manager takes responsibility for the website and a number of sister websites in languages other than English which are under development. The Russian website was launched recently.

Crime is no longer just a domestic concern. Increasingly crime and criminals are taking on global dimensions; exploiting jurisdictional differences and evading border controls. Cooperation between prosecutors as well as investigators can be instrumental in bringing perpetrators to justice. This is one of the main objectives of the association; others include the setting of standards, promoting good practice and upholding Human Rights and the Rule of Law.

One of the most important IAP objectives is to “... promote and enhance those standards and principles which are generally recognised internationally as necessary for the proper and independent prosecution of offences.”

‘The Standards of Professional Responsibility and Statement of the Essential Duties and Rights of Prosecutors’ were developed within the IAP and approved by the IAP in 1999. The IAP standards serve as an international benchmark for the conduct of individual prosecutors and of prosecution services. They complement but expand the “U.N. Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors,”1990 [The Havana Guidelines] which were the first international attempt to define the role of the public prosecutor. The U.N. guidelines are, however, addressed to states and are concerned with state action and do not address the relationship between the prosecutor and the executive or legislature.

At the17th session of the U.N. Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (Vienna, April 14-18, 2008), a resolution passed which called for “strengthening the rule of law through improved integrity and capacity of prosecution services.” The full text of the IAP prosecution standards was annexed to the resolution and state parties were requested to take them into consideration when reviewing or developing their own prosecution standards. Work continues between UNODC and the IAP on facilitating implementation and a guidance document is planned to illustrate the standards with a commentary and practical examples.

Benefits of IAP membership

  • Membership of a global network

  • Access to IAP website and area restricted to members

  • Receipt of quarterly newsletter including reports of IAP activities and announcements and articles of interest to the global prosecutor

  • Access to Global Prosecutors E Crime Network (GPEN) training materials and contacts

  • Access to Forum for International Justice (FICJ) focusing on war crimes and crimes against humanity

  • Eligibility to participate in annual and regional conferences

  • Eligibility for the IAP Granting Programme

  • Access to Prosecutors Exchange Programme (PEP)

  • Opportunity to contribute to IAP projects and activities

  • Access to IAP publications: Human Rights Manual for Prosecutors and Good Practice Guides

  • Opportunity to publish and distribute articles and papers for prosecutors

  • Discounted registration fees for selected international events and conferences

Organisational membership of the IAP is open to:

  • A prosecution service or an association of prosecutors organised on a country or a jurisdictional basis;
  • An organisation, agency or foundation established for the promotion of crime pre vention measures and the functions of which are closely connected with the prosecu tion of crime or an international unit, body, organisation or forum established by a state(s) or by a prosecution service to stimulate and improve coordination and cooperation between competent national prosecuting authorities.

Individual membership of the IAP is open to lawyers who are, or have been, prosecutors.

  • Prosecutor” means any lawyer who is or has been appointed by or on behalf of the state or other public authority to prosecute criminal offences or who is or has been elected for that purpose and includes lawyers who have regularly been retained by a prosecutor so appointed or elected to conduct or assist in the conduct of criminal prosecutions and also includes examining magistrates.


  • The IAP has produced a number of publications which include:

  • “Standards for Protection and Security of Prosecutors”

  • “Assistance by UK Prosecutors in Proceeds of Crime Casework” (in coordination with UK prosecuting authorities)
  • Human Rights Manual” [second edition produced 2009] and companion training manual

For more information regarding membership and access to IAP material please access the IAP website: or contact the IAP secretariat at

Upcoming Meetings

2nd North American and Caribbean IAP Regional Conference, Quebec, Canada

May 16-18, 2012 “Prosecutorial Independence”

On first day the Conference will examine prosecutorial independence which is a current and highly topical theme that will complement the fifth anniversary of the creation of the two co-hosting organizations, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada and the Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales du Québec. There are different ways in which the independence of prosecuting agencies can be structured and expressed and the Conference will attempt to explore how this is done in various North American and Caribbean jurisdictions. The second day will be devoted to a selection of criminal law topics that pertain to the everyday practice of line prosecutors to enable them to update their knowledge and skills in a constantly evolving legal and law enforcement landscape.

17th Annual Conference and General Meeting of the IAP, Bangkok, Thailand

Oct. 28 – Nov. 1, 2012, “Transnationalorganised crime, its expansion into diverse areas of criminality and the role of the prosecutor”

red logo

put the title of the article here
put the title of the article here