8th annual meeting of the PCJS in Dakar (September 2018)
From 25 to 27 September 2018, UNODC’s Terrorism Prevention Unit organized in Dakar, Senegal the eighth annual meeting of the Sahel Judicial Cooperation Platform (the PCJS) focal points to identify challenges and exchange best practices on current cooperation cases. The annual meeting was attended by 20 participants, including the Platform’s focal points and substitutes, a representative of the G5 Sahel and INTERPOL, as well as UNODC experts.
Since its creation in 2010, the PCJS, composed of Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Chad, has increased and accelerated the effective handling of requests for mutual legal assistance and extradition. These are indeed essential to successfully conclude judicial proceedings related to cases of terrorism and other forms of transnational organized crime.
International judicial cooperation in criminal matters remains a key element in the effective fight against terrorism and organized transnational crime, especially in the Sahel.
The annual meeting of focal points is essential for the smooth functioning and strengthening of the PCJS. Following the meeting, the focal points agreed to continue their efforts to make the competent authorities aware of plans to establish a “Judicial Cooperation Office” within the Ministries of Justice of the Platform’s Member States.
UNODC is also committed to continuing to support the participation of focal points in international conferences and training workshops to promote the PCJS and to exchange good practices on judicial cooperation. Finally, the focal points also assessed the opportunity to play an important role in the G5 Sahel through a potential collaboration with the Security Cooperation Platform. Moreover, they invited a G5 Sahel representative to their annual meeting, who made a presentation on the functioning of the organization. This enabled them to further strengthen their conviction on the need to integrate the PCJS into the G5 Sahel, thus completing the institution’s security cooperation mechanism.
This meeting was also an opportunity to explore ways of strengthening cooperation with INTERPOL, whose representative presented the various lines of action in the Sahel countries. The focal points also seized the opportunity to stress the importance of the role of the National Central Bureaus that support them in sending requests for mutual legal assistance and extradition.
UNODC’s support to the Platform’s annual meetings contributes to the implementation of the United Nations global and regional counter-terrorism strategies: the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (A/RES/60/288 of 8 September 2006) and the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (S/2013/354 of 14 June 2013). The provision of counter-terrorism assistance to the Sahel countries is integrated into the contribution of UNODC to the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (the Sahel Programme) and in the Regional Programme for West Africa (2016-2020). Thus, UNODC contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 16a, which aims to strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime.
The Sahel Programme has supported the development of accessible, efficient and accountable criminal justice systems to combat illicit trafficking, drug trafficking, organized crime, terrorism, and corruption in the region since 2013, and has recently, at the request of G5 Sahel member states, been extended to 2023.
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