Since its creation, WACAP has not only facilitated direct dialogue between central authorities, prosecutors and other judicial actors, but above all, it has enabled States, particularly their focal points, to become familiar with the cooperation tools, which are key instruments in the fight against organised crime.
Through the WACAP network, the focal points in Niger have had to exchange and deal with criminal procedure files with their colleagues in Burkina Faso and Mali.
In 2015, two proceedings involving Malian and Nigerien nationals prosecuted for criminal association and terrorism were concluded through the WACAP network. Exchanges between central authorities facilitated the execution of rogatory commissions by transporting investigators from Niger directly to Mali.
In 2019, in a terrorist attack investigation conducted by Niger’s central counter-terrorism service, judicial police officers travelled directly to Ouagadougou to interview suspects. However, the law enforcement authorities in Burkina Faso refused intervention by the Niger police officers without a request for mutual criminal assistance. This situation was regularized following exchanges between WACAP focal points. Thus, a request for mutual legal assistance was immediately transmitted by the Prosecutor of Niamey through the National Unit for Mutual Legal Assistance and Judicial Cooperation and WACAP Focal Point.
After the 2019 training, a working session was organized by the National Unit for legal Assistance and Judicial Cooperation with the investigating judges of the Niamey High Court, to inform them about the tools available to them to cooperate internationally and the opportunity to take advantage of the WACAP focal points and the platform on judicial cooperation issues.
Moreover, the exchange of experiences and good practices on topics discussed during the WACAP meetings since its creation in 2013 and the recommendations resulting from them have not only facilitated the exchange of information between practitioners, improved the legal framework of our States in the field of judicial cooperation, but have also led to a more flexible judicial cooperation dynamic. The recommendations resulting from the WACAP and platform meetings have contributed not only to the reform of the national legal framework of Niger in the area of judicial cooperation with the adoption of Law No. 2016 - 21 of 16 June 2016 on mutual legal assistance and extradition, thus repealing a 1927 law on mutual legal assistance, but also the adoption and ratification of an agreement on judicial cooperation between Chad, Mali and Niger on 9 May 2017, regarding the constant threat of terrorist attacks, drug trafficking and smuggling of migrants. This agreement enables States to better cooperate in the fight against transnational organized crime and the strengthening of border control.
Needless to say, in addition to its assistance in building the capacity of actors in the criminal chain and central authorities, WACAP provides technical support to member countries. Thus, UNODC, through WACAP, has initiated the set-up of computer and office automation equipment on behalf of the Cellule Nationale d’Entraide Pénale (National Unit for Legal Assistance and Judicial Cooperation) as well as the implementation of a management software, a video projector with its accessories, the installation of an intranet and several other materials. All of which will enable the Unit to function properly.
WACAP is a powerful and necessary tool for judicial cooperation, especially at a time when we are faced with the development of transnational organized crime in our subregion.