Formative Workshop on ‘Legal Issues involved in Handling and Prosecution of Terrorism-related Cases in the East and Horn of Africa Region.

Djibouti workshop

1. The African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT), with the financial support of the Government of Canada, logistical support of the Government of Djibouti and technical support of the UNODC Regional Office for Eastern Africa (ROEA), the IGAD Security Sector Program (ISSP) and the IGAD Centre of Excellence on the Prevention and Countering of Violent Extremism (ICEPCVE), convened a formative workshop on ‘Legal Issues involved in Handling and Prosecution of Terrorism-related cases in the East and Horn of Africa Region,’ from 4 to 5 July 2018, in Djibouti.

2. This workshop, which marked the beginning of a series of Member State level legal assistance projects and workshops in the East and Horn of Africa region, was organized in furtherance of ACSRT’s effort and desire to promote the mainstreaming of rule of law and human rights-based operational and judicial responses to terrorism cases and preventing violent extremism. The workshop was also part of a long-term process of integrating international, African Union level, and regional legal instruments into the EAC and IGAD Member States’ actions in combating and preventing terrorism and violent extremism. It also served as a launch pad for a solid and far reaching comprehensive legal assistance program that would initially see three (3) MS benefitting and possibly more in the foreseeable future.

3. The workshop brought together experts from the ACSRT, ISSP, ICEPCVE, African Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL), and UNODC-ROEA as well as investigators, judges, prosecutors, and magistrates from the East and Horn of Africa region.

4. The opening ceremony featured remarks by Mr. Idriss Mounir LALLALI, Deputy Director of ACSRT representing the AU Chairperson’s Special Representative on Counter-Terrorism Cooperation/ Director of ACSRT and a keynote address by Mr. Hassan Said Kaireh, the Director General of the Djibouti Intelligence Services, who officially opened the workshop.

5. The two days’ workshop, through presentations by experts and MS’ delegates as well as plenary discussions, allowed participants to engage, deliberate and exchange ideas and perceptions, on the threat situation in the region and the relevant experiences and challenges faced in the handling and prosecution of terrorism related cases in the East and Horn of Africa, in addition to brainstorming the ways forward.

6. In the end, the ACSRT and participants agreed to continue to work together and combine their efforts and expertise in the framework of the existing ACSRT-led project of legal technical assistance to three (03) Member States, to bring MS’ domestic CT legislation in conformity with the AU Comprehensive CT Model Law and the related UN CT as well as other Continental Instruments and decisions.

7. Such an exercise will offer the stakeholders the opportunity to appreciate not only each MS’ situation, legal capacity to handle and prosecute terrorism related cases while adhering to rule-of-law principles but also to identify cooperation challenges, and possible areas that need attention in a bid to ensure successful investigation and prosecution of terrorism cases in full compliance with the applicable regional, AU, and international counter terrorism frameworks.

8. The outcomes of the program will be shared with all participants during a summative workshop to be held during the first quarter of 2019 and will serve as a platform to reflect and report on the Program’s Experiences and Challenges, develop guidelines for Legislative assistance, evaluate the overall program and explore the scope of further program interventions.