UNODC Promotes the International Legal Framework against Nuclear Terrorism in Africa



On 5 and 6 June, senior officials from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Senegal and Togo gathered at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Office in Dakar, Senegal, to discuss two key international legal instruments in the fight against nuclear terrorism: the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT). Both instruments, adopted in 2005, complement each other in several ways and fill existing gaps in the protection against nuclear terrorism from a criminal justice perspective.

In addition to UNODC experts who presented both legal instruments in detail and briefed delegates on the benefits and challenges associated with adhering to and implementing them, representatives from the African Union, the Institute for Security Studies, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Kingdom and the 1540 Committee participated in the event. Participating countries had an opportunity to present their relevant domestic legislation. National experiences on the investigation and prosecution of cases involving nuclear or other radioactive material were also discussed.

This workshop (funded by the Government of the United Kingdom) is part of UNODC's ongoing efforts to promote the entry into force of the Amendment to the CPPNM and the increase in ratifications and implementation of the ICSANT. In fact, a common denominator of the countries participating in the Workshop is the fact that they are all already party to the CPPNM.

In recent years, and to a large extent as a result of the adoption of five international legal instruments relevant to fighting nuclear terrorism in the last decade, UNODC has stepped up its efforts to assist Member States with the criminal justice aspects of the protection against nuclear terrorism.

Last September, the United Nations High Level Meeting on Countering Nuclear Terrorism with a Special Focus on Strengthening the Legal Framework, convened by the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon recognized the key role played by UNODC and its Global Project on Strengthening the Legal Regime against Terrorism, implemented by the Terrorism Prevention Branch, in promoting the ratification and the full implementation of the international legal instruments dealing with nuclear terrorism. In particular, participants welcomed UNODC's ongoing efforts to assist requesting Member States in this process and invited Member States to avail themselves of UNODC's successful and long established technical legal assistance programme and capacity-building activities, and to continue to support them.

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