Malawi Enhancing the Investigation of Sexual Violence linked to Terrorism Workshop

1 - 3 February 2023

Ever wonder what are the challenges investigators are faced with when trying to retrieve evidence related to sexual violence cases? Or why most of these cases fail to achieve any result because of the absence of corroborative evidence? That is what high-level officials from Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, and Malawi were convened to discuss in a regional event held in Lilongwe, Malawi from 1-3 February 2023; as these countries share legal systems that follow the Common law and/or hybrid legal traditions, supplemented and modified by local, traditional and religious dispute-resolution mechanisms.

To date, at least 20 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are actively engaged in 15 violent armed conflicts . Reports showcase that multiple terrorist factions carried out brutal attacks targeting men, women, and girls, in a surge of armed violence across the region in 2021 . Most recently, a violent Jihadi Insurgency has emerged in East Africa, on the Swahili Coast’s southern tip.

To address these emerging threats, this three-day event focused on victim interviewing techniques, the importance of corroborating evidence, evidence gathering and analysis, and forensic investigations, using case studies and simulations related to cases of sexual violence from conflict zones in a survivor-centric approach. It also explored innovative approaches to societal, religious and traditional barriers that have historically impeded the investigation sexual violence linked to terrorism.

92% of the participants reported that the workshop helped them develop an effective gendered and survivor-centric approach to the investigation of sexual terrorism crimes, and 100% of them reported that the workshop enhanced their capacity to better apply investigative skills in line with international standards and best practices for forensic investigation techniques, crime scene management in cases of sexual offences linked to terrorism.

Officials mentioned That the workshop helped them make the efficient link between sexual violence and terrorism and further enhance their forensic investigation and interviewing skills.

Through tailored programmed as such, we are all able to make Impunity the Exception and Accountability for crimes of Sexual Violence linked to terrorism, the norm.

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