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Burkina Faso creates a specialized judicial unit against crime and terrorism

In January 2017, Burkinabe legislators passed laws to create and institutionalize specialized judicial units (in French, "Pôle judiciaire spécialisé") to strengthen the fight against transnational organized crime, terrorism and its financing, following the provision of UNODC legal expertise and training.

Burkina Faso saw a spike in terrorist activity in 2016. Several attacks cost military forces and civilians many lives, including in Ouagadougou, the capital, where 28 people were killed after Islamist militants attacked the Splendid Hotel in January 2016.

To increase efficiency in the treatment of such cases by the judicial sector, a number of Burkinabe justice officials will be specialized in the treatment of terrorism-related offenses. UNODC experts provided support to Burkinabe legislators in analyzing the draft law and ensuring its compliance with international conventions.

UNODC also provided (and will further provide) specialized training to a designated pool of justice officials on the treatment of terrorism cases, as well as on the investigation, prosecution and adjudication of criminal activity suspected of financing terrorism.

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The activities underlying this result were funded by the governments of France, Japan and Spain

As stated by the Minister of Justice of Burkina Faso, H.E. Réné Bagoro, "these cases are complex because they involve a number of aspects and can span across several countries. We have identified certain insufficiencies in investigating them. For this reason we have started training justice officials even before the formal establishment of this unit-these are now equipped to deal with such cases effectively."

Through its Sahel Programme, UNODC has provided extensive assistance to Burkina Faso in strengthening responses against terrorism. The December 2015 counter-terrorism law, which includes provisions to address foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) and increase regional judicial cooperation against terrorism (among others), was adopted following the provision of legal drafting expertise by UNODC experts.

Launched in 2013 as a contribution to the UN Security Council Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (2012), the UNODC Sahel Programme promotes accessible, efficient and accountable criminal justice systems to support state institutions in their fight against transnational organized crime and terrorism.

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