United States Embassy Niamey
December 17, 2015
U.S. Government Supports Niger’s Fight Against Boko Haram
Niamey- On December 15-16, 2015, the United States Embassy, with the support of the Ministry of Justice, organized a two-day symposium entitled, “Improved Coordination and Cooperation in the Investigation and Prosecution of Boko Haram Detainees.” Over the course of two days, Nigerien magistrates, law enforcement personnel, and military personnel, along with local and international partners, discussed ways to better coordinate their activities to ensure that pending cases involving hundreds of individuals suspected of terrorism crimes related to terrorist organization Boko Harm are properly and successfully investigated and prosecuted. The two-day symposium was organized by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance, and Training (OPDAT) and included representatives from the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Interior, and the Ministry of Defense, along with their U.S. Government counterparts. Technical and financial partners also attended the symposium, including the European Service for External Action (EUCAP Sahel Niger), the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the European Union’s Primary Technical Assistance Program for Justice and Law (PAJED II), and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Since the fight against Boko Haram began, Nigerien law enforcement and security personnel have arrested and detained hundreds of individuals suspected of being involved in violent acts on behalf of the group. Representatives from the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Interior, judges and prosecutors from the Niamey Trial Court and the Court of Appeals, investigators from the Central Service for the Fight against Terrorism (SCLCT), and representatives from Interpol, the Gendarmes, and the National Guard held frank and productive discussions about challenges, concerns, and recommendations for improvement. Topics discussed included the role of the SCLCT, the Police, the Gendarmes, and the National Guard in the apprehension, detention, and transfer of Boko Haram suspects; the identification, preservation, collection, and documentation of evidence; respecting the rights of the accused; respecting the rights of minors; protection of victims, witnesses, magistrates and law enforcement personnel; prison conditions for pre-trial detainees; and methods to improve investigations and prosecutions. At the conclusion of the symposium, the participants agreed on a comprehensive list of recommendations to ensure that they would continue to work together in a collaborative manner to defeat Boko Haram.