The countries of the Sahel region are working to implement effective criminal justice approaches to counter terrorism and violent extremism while adhering to human rights and rule of law standards. Recognizing and supporting victims is a crucial component of this response. Pillars I and IV of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy specifically addresses this issue and encourage Member States to implement national assistance programs that prioritize the needs of victims of terrorism and their families, as well as promote and uphold victims’ rights.
In 2017, Mali adopted a National Policy to implement a comprehensive approach to preventing and countering violent extremism and terrorism. In 2022, a National Action Plan based on five pillars (prevention, protection, prosecution, response, and social cohesion) was also adopted. Specific measures are being implemented to enhance the resilience of populations affected by terrorism and violent extremism, including support for victims of terrorism.
As part of its efforts to enhance the capacity of Member States to support victims of terrorism, UNODC organized a national workshop on “The Role of Victims in Criminal Justice Response to Terrorism” in Bamako, Mali from May 9-11, 2023. The workshop was held in cooperation with the Permanent Secretary responsible for implementing the Malian National Action Plan.
The workshop aimed to strengthen victims’ rights in criminal cases and operationalize the National Action Plan. It also promoted the creation of whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches, emphasizing the importance of a range of victim assistance (legal, judicial, psychological, medical, etc.) and upholding victims’ rights throughout the criminal justice process.
The opening ceremony was attended by the Malian Minister of Religious Affairs, Cults and Customs, and the Ambassador of Denmark in Mali. The opening remarks highlighted the importance of engaging criminal justice and law enforcement actors through collective actions to protect victims of terrorism.
Participants provided positive feedback on the workshop’s relevance to their ongoing efforts to support victims of terrorism. UNODC will continue to provide technical assistance to counterparts in Mali to support the implementation of a multi-sectoral and whole-of-society approach to enhance resilience against violent extremism and radicalization.
This activity was funded by the Government of Denmark.