Mauritania strengthens its criminal justice response to terrorism
As part of its continued support to West and Central African States, UNODC met with Mauritanian criminal justice agencies in order to strengthen their responses to terrorism. Under the leadership of the Ministry of Justice, UNODC officials supported Mauritanian officials to identify their goals, priorities and ways to reach them. As part of this project, two missions took place, one in early July and one in late October.
The missions in Nouakchott allowed numerous consultations with national partners and in particular with the ministries of Justice and of the Interior, investigators from the Police and from the Gendarmerie, prosecutors, investigating judges, defense lawyers, the financial investigations unit and prisons. Throughout these visits, Mauritanian officials have provided a rich and detailed insight into the country's multifaceted response against terrorism. Following individual meetings with concerned stakeholders, UNODC gathered 20 participants (including 2 women) around the same table to exchange views and visions to better understand one another's goals and challenges.
This dialogue-based approach aims to allow those directly involved with terrorism-related cases to shape future capacity-building responses and pinpoint key obstacles to the deployment of effective efforts to address terrorism. It also allowed national stakeholders to influence and take ownership of the project, while creating the space required for meaningful and constructive debates on the country's current and future counter-terrorism mechanisms. The second mission late October 2017 ended with a meeting with Me Brahim Ould Daddah, Minister of Justice who reiterated his country's commitment to the fight against terrorism.
While Mauritania has been spared by attacks since 2011, the country continues to face terrorist threats, and the criminal justice system is currently processing cases related to terorism. The recent evolution of the threat in the region and the risk of disruption by returning foreign terrorist fighters require that Sahel countries continue to adapt their response and capacity to these threats.
This activity, made possible with the generous support of the United States, anchors itself in UNODC's Regional Programme of which one of the main objective is to provide technical and legislative assistance adapted to the needs of the region's criminal justice systems in a human-rights compliant manner.