The Global Center and the government of Canada, in collaboration with UN Office on Drugs and Crime, UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, Association of Francophone Supreme Courts (AHJUCAF), and International Organization of La Francophonie, organized an event at UN Headquarters which highlighted key recommendations and approaches adopted by the Sahel countries to address human rights challenges in the fight against terrorism.

Junko Nozawa delivered framing remarks on the challenges confronting the judiciaries in the Sahel jurisdictions, documented in the Global Center’s 2018 publication “When the Dust Settles.” Following the opening, Jean-Paul Jean, the Secretary General of AHJUCAF, moderated an interactive discussion with Badio Camara, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Senegal, and Alizeta Koné Compaoré, Secretary General of the Ministry of Human Rights and Civic Promotion of Burkina Faso. The discussions touched upon evidentiary considerations, the situation of minors, and the need to coordinate with all actors in the criminal justice chain. Chief Justice Camara commented on the difficulties in collecting evidence and the importance of protecting the freedoms of expression/opinion in the prosecution of speech offences relating to two terrorism cases recently in Senegal. Secretary General Compaoré highlighted the large number of detainees held in pre-trial detention on terrorism-related charges and the continuing state of emergency applied in Burkina Faso since December 2018, following terrorist attacks, which has led to an increase in arrests and overcrowding in prisons.

This event is a continuation of an initiative of the supreme courts of the Sahel countries begun five years ago which led to the signing of a set of recommendations on the specific role of justice in counterterrorism efforts by the chief justices of the highest courts of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal.

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