Belgium and UNODC partner to support Burkina Faso to strengthen measures against terrorism
Terrorism continues to undermine peace and security, especially in the Sahel, where terrorist groups are active. The attacks in Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali and Niger are tragic examples of the significant concern about the rise of terrorism in the region. To strengthen the criminal justice system and enhance the capacities of law enforcement agencies involved in the fight against terrorism, UNODC established a close partnership with Burkinabe authorities, notably in the fields of investigating, prosecuting and adjudicating terrorism cases.
In February 2017, UNODC organized a national training workshop in Ouagadougou for law enforcement agents, prosecutors and judges, in charge of handling terrorism cases. This workshop was organized thanks to the support of the government of Belgium.
During the training, 31 judges, prosecutors, police officers, gendarmes, financial intelligence unit officials and customs officials learned from experts' experiences in investigating, prosecuting and adjudicating terrorism cases, and exchanged best practices and lessons learnt. Participants from Ouagadougou, Bobo-Dioulasso, Koudougou, Ouahigouya worked together in small groups on a mock criminal case designed to lead them to proactively engage and find solutions to the case's problems.
One of the objectives of the workshop was to make various criminal justice agencies in charge of terrorism and terrorism financing cases work better together, by fostering their understanding of each other's work.
As of today, and despite of recurrent terrorist attacks in the region, no convictions for terrorism financing have taken place in Sahel countries, even though most of them have passed counter financing of terrorism laws and have established financing of terrorism as a stand-alone criminal offense. This lack of handling and adjudication of cases on financing of terrorism indicates the urgent need to address this issue and support countries in the region on how to detect financing of terrorism, collect and manage financial intelligence to investigate and prosecute efficiently financing of terrorism related cases.
Working through its Regional Office for West and Central Africa (ROSEN) based in Dakar and the Terrorism Prevention Branch (TPB), this workshop forms part of the UNODC Sahel Programme, developed as a Contribution to the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel. The Programme focuses on providing capacity building support to national criminal justice system entities, in order to strengthen rule of law-based criminal justice responses to terrorism.