West African Network of Central Authorities and Prosecutors against Organized Crime (WACAP)
The West African Network of Central Authorities and Prosecutors (WACAP), established in May 2013, is a network of focal points of the 15 countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo), plus Mauritania. WACAP is a UNODC initiative implemented with the support of the ECOWAS Commission and the ECOWAS Court of Justice. The Network is an outcome of the Bamako Declaration on Impunity, Justice and Human Rights in West Africa, adopted in December 2011, where ECOWAS States agreed to take specific action to promote mutual legal assistance networks among prosecutors in different countries and develop a regional strategy to facilitate prosecution of persons involved in transnational organized crime.
The Network promotes the establishment and strengthening of central authorities in the region. Through regular meetings and training, the Network enables central authorities and relevant practitioners to exchange information about their respective legal systems and procedures, to develop a common language and to share good practices. The expected result is professionals who can more effectively draft, prepare and respond to requests for mutual legal assistance and extradition. WACAP also strengthens the capacity of prosecutors/magistrates to address various forms of organized and serious crime, leading to successful prosecutions and cooperation at the regional and international levels.
In the Spotlight
Mr. Olatoundji Badirou LAWANI, General Secretary of the Ministry of Justice of Benin
Signature of the Liaison Magistrate Partnership Declaration
On November 2018, the 8th plenary meeting of the West African Network of Central Authorities and Prosecutors (WACAP) and the 5th plenary meeting of the Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network for West Africa (ARINWA) were jointly held in Cotonou, Benin. On this occasion, most of WACAP member states (Benin, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo) signed a Partnership Declaration with the Italian government for the deployment of prosecutors from the West African region in Italy. “This concrete and direct cooperation makes it possible to deal more effectively with ongoing cases, requests for mutual legal assistance and extradition, in particular with regard to smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons. Such exchanges of liaison magistrates will soon be extended to other countries in the subregion and beyond” said M. Pierre Lapaque, UNODC Regional Representative for West and Central Africa. The project aims at enhancing international cooperation in criminal matters, including through training and/or operational exchanges of judges/prosecutors (liaison magistrates) between WACAP countries and Italy. This declaration also intends to facilitate communication and the exchange of information, as well as mutual legal assistance between the signatory countries. Mr. Olatoundji Badirou LAWANI, General Secretary of the Ministry of Justice from Benin