Strengthening the criminal justice chain against terrorism in Senegal
As part of its contribution to the UN Regional Integrated Strategy for the Sahel and through its Sahel Programme, UNODC's office for West and Central Africa (ROSEN) held a training workshop for Senegalese judges, prosecutors and law enforcement agents in charge of terrorism cases from 26 to 28 July 2016. Opened by Pierre Lapaque, UNODC's Regional Representative, Vivian Huijgen and Josephine Frantzen from the embassy of the Netherlands in Senegal, and financed by the Government of the Netherlands, this workshop aimed to build the capacity of Senegal criminal justice practitioners to investigate terrorism cases.
Through the exchange of experiences and practices and the organizing of training workshops, judges, prosecutors and law enforcement agents can learn how to secure a crime scene, safeguard and use evidence that can be used to prosecute suspects as well as reinforce their analytical skills necessary to better understand terrorist patterns, among other key tools to address terrorism.
Providing judges, prosecutors and law enforcement agents with increased investigation, prosecution and adjudication capabilities is one of the key ways in which UNODC is trying to equip Sahel countries with tools to address terrorism. Through reinforced capacity of their criminal justice systems, Sahel countries can face the threat of terrorism with increased confidence and respond to this threat more effectively.
Over twenty participants from criminal justice agencies specialized in the handling of terrorism-related cases from all over Senegal took part in the workshop. Participants were judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement agents. They gathered for this three-day workshop in order to find better solutions to issues faced in terrorism investigations and to gain a greater understanding of the various tools and techniques that can make help move terrorism-related investigations forward.
With the help of experts from UNODC, the Netherlands, France and Niger, the workshop provided practical and operational knowledge to participants. Participants worked on a mock case exercise involving a terrorist incident in order to identify the steps that need to be taken to investigate this incident. They also heard real case experiences provided by foreign experts with extensive experience of terrorism investigations, which exposed participants to a wide array of scenarios which they faced or may face in the upcoming years. Exposing individuals on the frontline to practical exercises and other professionals working on similar issues allowed for the development of stronger personal and professional networks between individuals who may have to collaborate on terrorism-related cases in the near-future.
At the end of the workshop, participants expressed their appreciation of the methodology used during the workshop, stating that both the simulations and the sharing of experiences by their colleagues will be of great use for future investigations. Participants called for a simulation exercise that would allow them to put this knowledge into practice.