UNODC enhances investigative capacity on terrorism in Niger

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Strengthening criminal justice systems is a key aspect of comprehensive counter terrorism and counter violent extremism strategies. To fully prevent, deter, investigate and prosecute terrorism and other acts of violent extremism, national authorities must have the adequate legal framework and the proper training to face the complex challenges posed by violent extremism in all of its forms.

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) in collaboration with the government of Niger provided a training workshop to 33 judges, prosecutors, police officers, gendarmes and national guards from 24 to 27 May 2016 in Niamey, Niger. This workshop, funded by Japan, aimed to provide practical training to law enforcement officials to reinforce their ability to conduct investigations of terrorism-related cases.

Over the course of these four days, participants received a training on the application of national counter-terrorism law recently adopted, and received increased information on Niger's criminal justice agencies specialized in terrorism cases. Moreover, participants learned how and why to use proactive investigation techniques while expanding their set of tools and methods to conduct effective investigations in a strategic way. During the final sessions, participants were taught how to manage intelligence collected and how to adequately analyse it, while also being exposed to some of the promising practices and lessons learned from other countries such as Algeria and France.

At the end of the training, participants had increased their understanding of many key aspects of terrorism related investigations and prosecution including the international and national legal context and provision for the investigation of terrorism cases. They also increased their capacity to conduct complex investigations and apply special investigation techniques according to their national legislation while strengthening their ability to gather and analyse intelligence information collected and how to use them lawfully.

Throughout this workshop, participants improved collaborative work and communication channels between central services and police stations and brigades located far outside the capital city of Niamey. Visits organized at the various national entities dealing with terrorist cases allowed participants to establish new networks with colleagues who will be able to assist them in the handling of terrorism cases while also giving a chance to those coming from locations where terrorist events are more frequent to share their experience and obtain valuable information and advice from their hierarchy.

Such activities are part of UNODC's continuous efforts to provide technical assistance to West African and Sahel States 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.