IIJ CTAC: Third Edition for Practitioners from West Africa and Sahel

20 - 30 November 2023
Valletta, Malta

In November 2023, the IIJ Academic Unit, with the support of the United States State Department, delivered the third edition of the Counter-Terrorism Academic Curriculum (CTAC) course to 24 investigators, investigative judges and prosecutors from seven francophone West African and Sahel countries (Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, Mauritania, Togo).

Those mid to senior level practitioners previously succeeded to eCTAC course dedicated to proactive CT investigations and were then invited to Malta to expand their specialization on such critical and evolutive field during 9 days of this intensive Human Rights-based course.

The CTAC was led on a peer-to-peer approach by Hon. Marie Compère, Director of the Academic Unit and Mr. Cheibou Samna, Academic Unit Resident Fellow and former Niamey Public Prosecutor with international subject matter experts, such as Mr Abdou Chefou and Mr Kamal Touré from UNODC, Mr Léo Jarry from Conflict Armament Research and Ms. Tatiana Smirnova, postdoctoral researcher at the Centre Interdisciplinaire de Développement International en Santé at the University of Sherbrooke (Canada), member of the Centre Francopaix (UQAM) and associate researcher at the Sahel Research Group (University of Florida, USA), and other high experienced French investigators such as Jérôme Andrieux, former Brigadier-chef, French Judicial Police, and the former President of the Paris Terror Attack Case (V13).

This in-person course alternated between lectures and practical exercises where practitioners worked together on a simulated international terrorism case, outlining the various steps from a terrorist attack, the evaluation of the investigations to the terrorist trial.

The course, delivered in French, allowed the practitioners to effectively collaborate on critical challenges, including collection of evidence, accountability and procedural safeguards during this practice-focused learning experience.

Topics covered included the modus operandi of terrorist groups, including misinformation and propaganda, including online, crime scenes management, judicial hits on improvised explosive devices, weapons and ammunition, the collection of evidence, particularly in financial matters and terrorist assets, as well as the organisation of a court hearing respecting the parties' rights and the fair trial rules.

The practitioners were highly engaged during the two-week CTAC, actively participating in different sessions  sharing their experiences, challenges and context from their respective countries. They stated that eCTAC and CTAC were indeed beneficial to their day-to-day practice and to strengthening operational judicial cooperation through the network thus established, and that they intend to put into practice what they have developed at the IIJ in the course of their professional practice.

Mrs. Mankentsop Wamba, Head of the Monitoring Unit at the Ministry of Justice in Cameroon, expressed, “I am delighted to be here; this programme is of great importance for Cameroon in terms of security and legislative perspectives. It will help us provide support on the legislative side and also train various practitioners.” She also confirmed, “We will share our knowledge with our colleagues through this programme.”

Ms. Gnacadja, Public Prosecutor of the Court of Cotonou in Benin, stated, “Before the CTAC, I had never participated in such in-depth training; the programme was very enriching. I expect to continue deepening my knowledge.” She also added, “Terrorism is new in Benin, and it is up to us, the justice actors, to combat it.”

Members of this new CTAC cohort are now part of the IIJ Academic Unit Alumni Community. Up to 200 mid to seniors frontline CT actors from 33 countries from the launch of the IIJ Academic Unit are included in the IIJ wide world network, thanks to the invaluable support of our donors, especially the USA, France, Denmark, Australia and the UK. The IIJ is proud to be trusted by such professionals and donors, engaged for Human Rights and the Rule of Law.

For more information on the CTAC, please contact Programme Manager Ikram Mensi, mensii@theiij.org

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