In recent years, terrorist activities in the Sahel region and West Africa have increased. While regional cooperation mechanisms for counter-terrorism have been reinforced, there is still a need to enhance criminal justice responses to terrorism, as outlined in several international legal instruments.
Due to the increase of attacks against civilians and defense and security forces in Mali, criminal justice actors face significant challenges in the process of collecting information and materials from conflict zones. Therefore, enhancing cooperation between criminal justice actors and first responders is crucial for the effective investigation and prosecution of terrorism crimes.
To overcome these challenges, UNODC developed and implemented a tailor-made technical assistance project on “Enhancing Criminal Justice Response to Terrorism in Mali by Strengthening the Technical Capacities of Specialized Anti-Terrorism Pole and Investigation Unit to Efficiently Investigate, Prosecute, and Adjudicate Terrorism-related Crimes”. In the framework of this project, UNODC delivered two national training workshops in Bamako from 17 to 21 October 2022.
The activities focused on enhancing coordination, collaboration and sharing of information between actors involved in the criminal justice response to terrorism, including investigators, prosecutors, judges, gendarmerie and first responders. Through hands-on practical trainings, the activities also aimed to strengthen first responders’ capacity to examine crime scenes in post-attacks situations. Participants’ abilities were enhanced to effectively collect and preserve information and materials, enabling them to use it to generate admissible evidence for criminal justice actors to use in the investigation and prosecution of terrorist crimes.
Interactive discussions between UNODC experts and participants led to the enhancement of the participants’ legal and technical knowledge and their awareness to handle and record different sources of information collected from conflict zones. The trainings also addressed the different legal and operational challenges related to collection and preservation of information in battlefields.
This event was financed by the Government of Italy.