UNODC launches train-the-trainer programme on international legal assistance

International cooperation in criminal matters is one of the most important tools available to States to fight organized crime in today's globalized world. Indeed, an effective cooperation amongst States can lead to the dismantling of criminal organizations, to the apprehension of criminals and to the recovery of proceeds of crime, among others.

UNODC is implementing a 'train-the-trainer' programme on international criminal matters and international cooperation for the ECOWAS countries through its Global Programme for Strengthening the Capacities of Member States to Prevent and Combat Serious and Organized Crime (GPTOC) and the West African Network of Central Authorities and Prosecutors against Organized Crime (WACAP).

The first of these training sessions was held in Accra, Ghana from 4 to 15 April 2016 for 18 magistrates and judicial officers from Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The second training took place in Lagos, Nigeria from the 9 to 20 May 2016, where 19 officials representing the judiciary and law enforcement agencies from the Gambia and Nigeria were trained.

Training participants and UNODC experts at the end of the training session in Ghana

Both training sessions lasted 10 days, divided in two weeks. During the first week, the participants were introduced, through participative lessons, to the basic principles of adult education, to the principles of instruction, questioning and teaching methods, to the use of instructional aids and to how to prepare and use a lesson plan. They were evaluated by facilitating an hour long learning session on a topic chosen by the instructor.

During the second week, the participants learnt the law and procedure of mutual legal assistance and extradition, as well as how to request and obtain digital evidence from foreign jurisdictions. Lastly, the participants were able to learn how to use the UNODC Mutual Legal Assistance Request Writer Tool, allowing them to draft effective requests themselves using the tool, but also to explain the operation of the tool to others. For the last week the participants were also evaluated by facilitating an hour long learning lesson, but this time on the law and procedure of mutual legal assistance and extradition.

Participants during the training session in Nigeria

The main objective is to have a multiplier effect on the number of personnel in each State who can be trained in the law and procedure of mutual legal assistance and extradition, thus increasing operational effectiveness in matters involving transnational organized crime.

The programme will be accomplished in two waves: firstly, a selected number of officials per country will receive an advanced training on international legal assistance. Secondly, the trained officials will conduct their own training to their colleagues in their home countries and possibly integrate the training as part of a curricula in National Training Schools (Police, Judiciary, etc.).

The trained officials are expected to conduct their own national training sessions in their home country, with the support of UNODC, within three months after the course completion. WACAP is linked to the Bamako Declaration on Impunity, Justice, and Human Rights in West Africa, which calls, inter alia, for the strengthening of mutual legal assistance between countries in West Africa. WACAP is supported by funds from the governments of France, Norway and the United States of America.

For more information:

West African Network of Central Authorities and Prosecutors against Organized Crime (WACAP)

Global Programme for Strengthening the Capacities of Member States to Prevent and Combat Serious and Organized Crime (GPTOC)

UNODC Mutual Legal Assistance Request Writer Tool

UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC)

UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC)

Bamako Declaration on Impunity, Justice, and Human Rights in West Africa