Training of law enforcement and justice actors on special investigative technique to counter terrorism


 COTONOU. From 27 to 30 September 2022, the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Regional Office for West and Central Africa (ROSEN) oOrganised a training workshop on “The use of special investigative techniques for intelligence gathering and their judicialization in countering terrorism”. The activity was funded by the Federal Republic of Germany under the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum West Africa Working Group (GCTF-WAWG) project.

Thirty officials from the National Commission to counter radicalization, Violent Extremism and terrorism, the Financial Intelligence Unit, the Beninese Agency for the integrated management of border areas (ABeGIEF), the Republican Police, the Court of Repression of Economic Offenses and Terrorism (CRIET), the General Directorate of Water, Forests and Hunting, as well as  intelligence services learned about special investigative techniques used in counter terrorism investigations.

In this context Dr. Amado Philip de Andrés, UNODC Regional Director for West and Central Africa stated “Terrorist groups are increasingly employing new methods and tactics, using modern technologies, and diversifying their funding, communication and operational methods. In light of this evolution and the transnational nature of the threat, specialized detection and investigation methods appear to be critical tools for responding to the terrorist threat. However, the secretive, evolving and intrusive nature of special investigative techniques requires that they be used in compliance with domestic law and the fundamental freedoms of individuals.”

During the training, participants benefited from a variety of learning methods, which contributed to a better assimilation of knowledge and information shared. In addition to working on real case studies, they were able to exchange with two experts from Niger, a magistrate and a law enforcement officer from the Central Counter-terrorism service. They also practised their interrogation techniques during simulations.

The activity exposed coordination challenges between agencies and the necessity to formalize inter-agency collaboration, as most information sharing is currently done informally. The training led participants to coordinate amongst themselves to initiate exchange sessions between the CRIET, judicial police and intelligence officers to reach the objective of better judicialization of intelligence collected.

The activity was particularly well received by participants considering the current threat in the north of Benin and recurring attacks. Investigators working in the northern departments of Alibori and Atacora indicated that the training reflected their daily reality and strengthened their operational capacities. The activity was also praised for bringing together actors of the investigation and prosecution chain, giving the opportunity to share and exchange.