UNODC deploys a Liaison Magistrate from Niger to Italy to strengthen judicial cooperation on cases related to trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants

01-11-2021

Maimouna Gogé Gazibo, the former Director of the National Agency to combat Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants in Niger, has been deployed to Italy as the fourth Liaison Magistrate (LM) assigned from Africa to Europe. She is part of an innovative initiative of the Regional Office of West and Central Africa of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to strengthen international judicial cooperation on smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons (TIPSOM) between countries of origin and countries of destination. Before the initiative, only European LMs were deployed to Africa, but never the other way around. To date, LMs have been deployed from Niger, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Eritrea to Italy and Spain.

Representing the national central authority of Niger, Ms. Gazibo will be attaché at the National Antimafia Directorate in Rome and will collaborate with Italian prosecutors on cases of TIPSOM and other related crimes involving the two countries. In that role, she will facilitate the transmission of mutual legal assistance requests and their execution between the two countries, and she will have an investigative role that will allow her to receive material and criminal files from Italian prosecutors and transmit them to the relevant counterpart in Niger for parallel investigations.

“The Liaison Magistrate initiative is an innovative project which demonstrates UNODC’s endeavor to find new solutions to the challenging transnational organized crime situation involving Europe, Africa and other parts of the world, and to achieve tangible results against it. Because of Liaison Magistrates deployed, there are now 45 ongoing cases on trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, 34 mutual legal assistance requests sent and one arrest.” said Dr Amado Philip de Andrés, Regional Representative of ONUDC Regional Office for West and Central Africa.

Ms. Gazibo was warmly welcomed by the General Director of the Department of International Cooperation at the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Stefano Opilio, and the Vice-Prosecutor of the Antimafia National Directorate Mr. Giovanni Russo. She has also met with the Ambassador of Niger in Italy, Y.E. Mr. Abdoulaye Diori, to explain her role and functions as LM.

The LM initiative, funded by the Republic of Italy and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is part of the Promis project, a joint programme between UNODC and the Office of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The project aims to strengthen the capacities of West African countries to develop a human rights-based response to smuggling of migrants and to effectively respond to human rights violations related to irregular migration.

 

Other useful links related to the Liaison magistrate initiative:

https://www.unodc.org/westandcentralafrica/en/2019-09-06-promis-judicial-cooperation.html

https://www.unodc.org/westandcentralafrica/en/2018-08-06-nigerian-prosecutor-italy.html

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2019/October/unodc-promis-project-improves-judicial-cooperation-between-africa-and-europe.html

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/index.html

https://www.un.org/en/observances/end-human-trafficking-day

https://www.unodc.org/documents/westandcentralafrica/UNODC_Regional_Programme_for_West_Africa_2016-2020.pdf

https://www.unodc.org/documents/westandcentralafrica//UNODC_Regional_Strategy_for_Combating_TIP_SOM_West_and_Central_Africa_2015-2020.pdf