UNODC strengthens Mauritania's capacity against firearms trafficking
The aftermaths of recent conflicts in Libya (2011) and in Mali (2012) have led to the emergence of a series of substantial security challenges for West and Central African States. One of these challenges is firearms trafficking, and its consequences on counter-terrorism efforts.
As part of its mandate to provide technical assistance to governments to implement their security strategies, UNODC provided training to 29 national law enforcement and judicial officers on the investigation and prosecution of firearms offences. This activity, held from 7 to 11 November 2016 in Nouakchott, Mauritania, was planned in close collaboration with the Mauritanian Ministry of Interior and was made possible through the contribution of the Government of Japan.
The workshop trained magistrates, prosecutors, judicial police officers, parliamentarians and representatives of NGOs operating in the region, on efficient investigation and prosecution techniques of firearms-related criminal matters and other related offences. The five-day event strengthened the capacities of participants regarding the identification and classification of arms, measures to prevent trafficking in firearms, crime scene management, investigation techniques and firearms tracing.
The training also served to strengthen understanding of the main legal instruments on combating transnational organized crime including the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its supplementing Firearms Protocol, which are both adhered to by Mauritania.
An additional focus was set on exploring and addressing opportunities and challenges regarding international cooperation in criminal matters at the level of the police as well as the judiciary. Based on a combination of theoretical and practical sessions, the training further allowed participants from different professional backgrounds to gain and deepen insights into the roles and responsibilities of the different authorities of the national criminal justice apparatus and to exchange on their respective expertise and experiences.
Present at the workshops, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Interior, M. Baba Ould Boumeiss, praised the hard work behind the training. M. Leonardo Lara, representative of UNODC, reiterated the organization's commitment to assisting states in their efforts to tackle firearms fabrication, proliferation and trafficking in the region, and their consequences on transnational organized crime.
This training session in Nouakchott followed a series of other workshops on investigating and prosecuting firearms criminal offences which took place in May 2016, and which were attended by participants from Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Niger and Senegal. These activities form part of the UNODC Contribution to the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (UNISS) and fall within the context of the Sahel Programme.