The Sahel Judicial Cooperation Platform meets with the G5 Sahel experts in Mauritania

During the 8th annual meeting of the Sahel Judicial Cooperation Platform (PCJS) which took place in September 2018 in Dakar, the focal points of the PCJS identified the need to strengthen judicial cooperation between the different countries, and wished to see the PCJS integrated into the organization of the G5 Sahel, following the same model as the Security Cooperation Platform.

Following up on this recommendation, the 6 PCJS focal points, and their substitutes, (9 men and 3 women in total), met in the Headquarters of the G5 Sahel Permanent Secretariat, in Nouakchott, from 26 to 28 March 2019.

The objective of this meeting was to explore partnership opportunities between the PCJS and the G5 Sahel. With UNODC support, the Platform focal points met with Mr. Maman Sambo Sidikou, G5 Sahel Permanent Secretary, as well as experts from the organization, to present the PCJS. They took this opportunity to highlight the benefits that this Platform, created in 2010, can bring to the G5 Sahel, particularly on issues related to judicial cooperation, e.g. the conduct of joint investigations and the execution of mutual legal assistance and extradition requests in the Sahel.

The objectives of the meeting were to exchange on recent cases of cooperation between the PCJS Member States; to review the constitutive charter and the rules of procedure for possible amendments; to sensitize the Mauritanian magistrates on the usefulness of the PCJS and the importance of international judicial cooperation when dealing with transnational crime cases.

As a result of this meeting, it was agreed that a technical committee composed of the PCJS focal points and G5 Sahel experts would be set up to explore ways to materialize a stronger cooperation between the G5 regional organization and the judicial cooperation mechanism.

An additional meeting was organized in March 2019 between the PCJS focal points and prosecutors and investigating judges from Mauritania to promote the use and benefits of the PCJS in handling judicial cooperation requests and discuss pending requests between Mauritania and other Sahel countries. The focal points visited the Mauritania's Specialized Counter-Terrorism Judicial Unit to share experiences and good practices related to the investigation, prosecution and adjudication of terrorism cases.

Mauritania's focal point expressed its gratitude stating that "thanks to UNODC support, t his important meeting confirms the commitment of the countries of the sub-region to fight by all legal means terrorism and organized crime."

Senegal's newly appointed focal point stressed the fact that the good professional relationships between the members of the PCJS " constitutes an added value to the monitoring of judicial cooperation files and to the spontaneity of the exchanges between the focal points."

The PCJS was created in June 2010 in Bamako, Mali, to strengthen judicial cooperation and includes Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal as members. One of the main objectives of the PCJS is to facilitate judicial cooperation and allow the transmission and execution of both mutual legal assistance and extradition requests among its Member States by fostering exchanges and  communication between judges and national central authorities in charge of international cooperation in criminal matters.

For more information on the PCJS, please visit its website, which includes useful tools for criminal justice officials in drafting and executing mutual legal assistance and extradition requests, such as standardized forms of requests, pieces of relevant legislation in judicial cooperation cases and practical guides and manuals to formulate those requests to the Sahel countries.

The successful conduct of these two meetings in Nouakchott illustrates the importance of regional judicial cooperation in criminal matters in order to combat transnational organized crime and demonstrates UNODC's willingness to support Member States in achieving the SDG16.

 

For more information

PCJS website (NEW!)

The Sahel Programme

SDG 16: Promote Peaceful and Inclusive Societies for Sustainable Development, Provide Access to Justice for All and Build Effective, Accountable and Inclusive Institutions at All Levels