UNODC facilitates the adoption of the police component of the G5 Sahel Joint Force
Peace and security in the Sahel region is becoming increasingly challenging. In recent years, terrorism and transnational organized crimes are on the rise, making these issues among the priorities expressed in the convention on the establishment of the G5 Sahel, signed by the Heads of State of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger in 2014.
The degradation of the security environment in the region also led the G5 Sahel to establish a Joint Force in February 2017, which has as its primary mission, the fight against regional threats linked to terrorism and transnational organized crime, especially in the borders areas.
In this context, UNODC and the Malian Presidency of the G5 Sahel organized from 6 to 8 December 2017 in Bamako, Mali, and in partnership with the European Union, a workshop to validate the structure and operation of the Police component of the G5 Sahel Joint Force.
At the end of the meeting, all five States adopted a conceptual framework, defining the procedures for interaction between the police and the military component of the Force, and establishing a judicialization mechanism compliant with the laws and procedures in place in the G5 Sahel Member States.
"This police component of the Joint Force is significant if we want to effectively fight terrorists and criminals in the region and restore confidence in law enforcement authorities. We must be able to ensure fair and equitable trial for suspects detained, based on evidence and through harmonized procedures", stated Mr. Pierre Lapaque, UNODC Regional Representative for West and Central Africa.
The document specifies the role of the judicial police particularly in relation to the management of crime scenes, the collection and preservation of evidence, the identification of witnesses, the transfer of evidence and of detainees to relevant agencies of the G5 Sahel States.
Key elements of the agreement aim at ensuring high levels of compliance with international law provisions regarding the treatment of the persons suspected of terrorism or criminal acts, as well as the integration of the women, peace and security agenda and measures ensuring the protection of children. It also aims to ensure that the Force strictly complies with the rules of human rights due diligence policy (HRDDP) related to United Nations support to security forces.
To reach this agreement, UNODC worked closely with the Secretariat of the G5 Sahel, the Malian Presidency of the G5 Sahel, the European Union, MINUSMA, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, INTERPOL and other technical and financial partners.
"UNODC is a historic partner of the G5 Sahel. Thanks to its unique expertise and its commitment to the countries of the region, UNODC is at the forefront to allow an efficient support to the police component of Joint Force, in line with international human rights standards and international conventions on terrorism and transnational organized crime" said the Permanent Secretary of the G5 Sahel, Mr Najim Elhadj Mohamed.
As guardian of the United Nations Convention against corruption and the United Nations Convention against transnational organized crime and its protocols, UNODC provides assistance to the G5 Sahel States to strengthen the criminal justice chain and fight against drug trafficking, terrorism, corruption, trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants. These joint efforts are part of the UNODC Contribution to the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel.