UNODC holds training workshop for magistrates and investigators in Niger on victims of terrorism in criminal proceedings

14-07-2020

NIAMEY Terrorism impacts not only how a community functions while destabilizing entire societies, regions or countries but has consequences at the individual level as well. Terrorism strikes military or civilians indiscriminately as well as their families regardless of their status or function in society.

The security situation in central Niger, particularly in the regions of Diffa and Tillabéri, is marked by an upsurge in violence by armed terrorist groups, manifested in attacks against the defense and security forces, attacks against villages, targeted assassinations, and kidnappings.

UNODC organized a workshop aimed at further strengthening the capacity of judges and investigators to better consider and deal with victims of terrorist acts in various proceedings.

Traditionally, criminal procedure focuses on the perpetrators of offenses and crimes. However, in the scope of terrorism,  more than in other areas, it is essential that the point of view of victims be heard and taken into account to a greater extent. This is essential if the process of restoring justice - in every sense of the word - is to achieve its objective.

In recent years, the number of cases and the workload of specialized counter-terrorism courts has increased considerably, particularly in Niger and the Sahel. There is every reason to believe that this momentum will continue to grow.

Niger has made considerable efforts at both the legislative and operational levels to deal with it. New offences and investigative techniques have been incorporated into the texts, and the context of the pandemic will require significant reflection on new modalities for implementing the penal chain.

"To this end, the agenda has provided for exchanges on the necessary measures to protect victims. This dimension seems to me essential in order to strengthen the legitimacy of criminal justice as a response to terrorism and, in so doing, to reinforce the rule of law and human rights," said the UNODC Programme Coordinator.

The workshop brought together 20 participants, on 1 and 2 July, 2020, around practical cases and very active and enriching debates.

In addition to the various presentations made by UNODC experts, the contribution of Ms. Montserrat Torija Noguerales, Director General of Support to Victims of Terrorism at the Spanish Ministry of the Interior, was of particular interest. She shared the experience of Spain through the response of her Government in terms of recognition and protection of victims of terrorism. She addressed a set of extra-judicial measures that particularly drew the interest of the Nigerian experts. They stressed the importance of considering similar measures as part of a global approach to the issue of victims.

Terrorism continues to affect Niger and other countries and communities in the Sahel.  Several analyses tend to conclude that the COVID-19 pandemic increases security threats. Indeed, the discourse of several terrorist groups blames the current weakening of the health and socio-economic context on State authorities, where actions to strengthen the rule of law are made more difficult because of the necessary restrictions in force.

A recommendation for legislative assistance was made to address the lack of a legal framework that takes into account the issue of victims in cases of terrorism.
 

 
This activity was financed by the Government of the Kingdom of Spain  

This activity is part of the long-standing cooperation between UNODC and Niger, which has been strengthened since the establishment of the Sahel programme in 2013 - the programme through which UNODC supports the implementation of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel.

More information:

Sahel Progamme