UNODC strengthens the criminal justice on terrorism matter in Burkina Faso

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In the fight against terrorism and other forms of violent extremism, criminal justice agents are key actors. The ability of a country's criminal justice system to investigate, prosecute and adjudicate acts of terrorism is one of the strongest tools that can allow it to prevent, deter and counter future acts of terrorism.

In order to strengthen the capacity of West African and Sahel countries criminal justice systems, UNODC's office for West and Central Africa (ROSEN), has organized, as part of its contribution to the UN Regional Integrated Strategy for the Sahel and through its Sahel Programme, the first national training workshop related to the investigation and prosecution of terrorism-related cases. This workshop was developed in collaboration with the national authorities of Burkina Faso, with the help of international experts and thanks to the funds of the Government of Japan. The event took place in Ouagadougou from 13 to 23 June 2016.

The first of a series of three capacity building training workshops has been designed for a recurring group of 30 criminal justice officials from Burkina Faso. These officials, who are likely to be assigned to specialized units tasked with the handling of terrorism-related cases, underwent training on preliminary inquiries and investigations over a period of 4 days.

During this period, the participants received training courses on the application of national counter-terrorism law, in accordance with international legal frameworks against terrorism and the identification of the main challenges related to its implementation in practice. They have also increased their knowledge and understanding of the various classification of terrorist offenses, the means through which evidence should be collected and the adequate procedure to manage a crime scene and to identify the various types of explosive devices and their components. Moreover, participants learned how to collect information and adapt investigation techniques to their local contexts as well as how to effectively proceed with the interviewing of witnesses, suspects and other individuals engaged in violent extremist groups.

Throughout this training programme composed of three workshops, trained criminal justice and law enforcement officials, especially investigators, judges and prosecutors will strengthen their ability to effectively investigate and prosecute terrorism cases in compliance with the rule of law.

UNODC has provided technical assistance to West African and Sahel States for over 20 years through its Regional West and Central Africa (ROSEN) office based in Dakar Senegal, along with 10 other local offices in various countries across the region. These efforts have intensified since 2013, and are now part of the organization's contribution the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (2014-2019). As the UN office in charge of transnational organized crime and terrorism-related issues, UNODC is mandated to assist all Member States to strengthen their national responses in conformity with international norms and standards.