Countries in the Sahel are facing several challenges in bringing terrorists to justice for crimes committed in conflict zones. In high-risk situations, criminal justice officials are confronted with obstacles when collecting information that could be used as evidence in investigations and judicial proceedings.
Niger is among the many countries in the Sahel and West Africa dealing with these issues. First responders from non-criminal justice backgrounds play a critical role in the collection, preservation and sharing of information that can be used by appropriate investigative and judicial services.
To help Niger address these challenges, UNODC developed a technical package of assistance to enhance criminal justice responses to terrorism by facilitating the use and admissibility as evidence of information and material collected from the battlefields by first responders, starting in 2019. The objective of the programme is to enhance cooperation between first responders and criminal justice actors. This has included integrating standard operating procedures on the management of evidence collected in high-risk situations and conflict zones into relevant Nigerien judicial, security and military academies and institutions through training of trainers progammes.
UNODC delivered a training in Niamey on 23-27 January 2023, in cooperation with the Nigerien National Guard Training Institute, in which participants completed a series of practical exercises on the collection and preservation of information from battlefields, appropriate treatment of captured persons and victims, and crime scene management and preparation for evacuation, among other subjects (through a simulation of a counter-terrorism operation).
The feedback provided by participants underscored the usefulness of the practical training to their work on battlefield evidence. As a follow up to this event, selected participants will go through an advanced train-the-trainer activity that will enable them to share their newly acquired knowledge.
This event was funded by the Government of the United States of America.