A delegation of senior Togolese officials visits Niger to exchange on capacity building initiatives to prevent and counter terrorism

The evolution of the terrorism threat in West Africa and its expansion from the Sahel to the coastal states have prompted criminal justice officials and policy-makers across the region to formulate more coherent and efficient responses. In this regard, the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime for West and Central Africa organised a four-day study visit for a delegation of senior officials from Togo to Niger, to learn on the experience of experts from that country in investigating and prosecuting terrorism cases.  

The current security threats in Togo are centred in and around the region of Savanes where attacks have taken place recently. The spill over of terrorism to the coastal countries is imposing new challenges to the security architecture, and to how criminal justice response should take those into account.

The capacity building of criminal justice actors in examining and prosecuting  terrorism cases in accordance with international standards and best practices is essential in the efforts aimed curbing terrorism and violent extremism in the region. The GCTF Rabat Memorandum for instance, calls on States to establish and strengthen a specialized corps of investigators, prosecutors, and judges to ensure effective prosecution of terrorist acts.

To learn more from an existing model, 17 senior officials from the Togolese Ministry of Security and Civil Protection and its intelligence and investigation services, as well as the Togolese Ministries of Justice and of the Army met with those specialized agencies from Niger. To respond to the specific needs related to the handling of terrorism cases, Niger has invested extensively in legislative and institutional reforms, including the establishment and operationalization of a Central Counterterrorism and Transnational Organized Crime Unit (SCLCT/CTO) and a specialized Counterterrorism and Transnational Organized Crime Judicial Pole.

The visit was an opportunity for Togolese officials to see good practices and institutional reforms put in place to respond to terrorism in Niger and draw lessons that could inform any future legislative and judicial reforms in Togo.

This visit was also an opportunity for various national counterparts to establish a network to facilitate the sharing of experiences and information. For the Director of UNODC’s Regional Office for West and Central Africa, Dr. Amado Philip de Andrés, “Regional experience sharing contributes to strengthening legislative and institutional responses to effectively counter terrorism in West and Central Africa”.  

This activity was implemented by UNODC within the framework of the Global Counter Terrorism Forum West Africa Working Group (GCTF WAWG), with funding from the Federal Republic of Germany.