End of training cycle for Nigerien lawyers on the assistance and defense in terrorism cases
From 17 to 19 July 2017, the third and last training workshop for Nigerien lawyers on the assistance and defense in terrorism cases took place in Niamey, Niger. This workshop takes part of the implementation of a capacity building project for the Pôle judiciaire spécialisé in Niamey, mainly in its area concerning access to justice. This project was undertaken in a context marked by a resurgence of terrorist acts in Niger especially in the extreme South-East of the country with the repeated incursions of the group Boko Haram. As an answer, the authorities have set up an institutional and normative response mechanism with, on one hand, the creation of a specialized court for the prosecution of terrorism offences, called Pôle judiciaire specialisé; and, on another hand, the adoption of specific terrorist offences and rules of procedure in this area.
This workshop also coincides with terrorism trials of the Pôle judiciaire specialisé, which are at their second session and opened on 20 July 2017 in Niamey. With this in mind, the fight against terrorism must be carried out with respect for human rights. This was reminded by the United Nations on several occasions, notably through the adoption by the General Assembly of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in September 2006. The respect of human rights in the fight of terrorism was thus set as the fourth pillar of this strategy. Niger, with the support of UNODC, is trying to bring its criminal justice system into line with this requirement, through various training programs, such as this one, for those involved in the justice system.
As in the case of the two previous ones, this workshop brought together, for three days, twenty lawyers registered with the Nigerien Bar. Under the guidance of international experts from Niger, Belgium and UNODC, they exchanged on various themes combining theoretical and practical aspects of defense techniques in cases of terrorism. Emphasis was placed on the defense of minors associated with extremist groups during the sessions of the third day.
The closing ceremony was an opportunity for Maitre Mounkaila Yayé, President of the Bar Association of Niger, to thank UNODC for its efforts on its structure and to wish for the continuation of the partnership on other themes still linked to the fight against terrorism.
This training was delivered under the framework of the Sahel Programme and was funded by the United States. The specific issues related to defense of children were delivered in the framework of the project on children recruited and exploited by terrorist and extremist groups in Niger, which is funded by Canada, Denmark and Switzerland. This project aims to promote their social reintegration. Lastly, GLO.ACT (The Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants) supported the training on human trafficking. GLO.ACT is a four-year (2015-2019), €11 million joint initiative by the European Union and UNODC, of which Niger is a beneficiary country.