Since the first meeting of the WACAP, the network has been actively promoting the establishment of central authorities for mutual legal assistance to ensure there is an expertise in this complex area of law. It also guarantees support to law enforcement or prosecuting officials on the legal or practical procedures and requirements of how to draft requests that meet the requirements of requested states. There are now seven central authorities within the network that are provided with training and/or tools to facilitate their own capacity building.
Before the network was established, practitioners did not know who to contact if they had questions before sending formal requests, many of which were lost in the ‘black hole’ of the diplomatic channel. Contact points did not know that informal consultations are encouraged before formal requests are submitted. As a result of WACAP, using this informal mechanism has opened a new way of doing business.
Some of WACAP's achievements throughout the last three years:
In 2013, there was a lack of knowledge as to what was needed for international cooperation. There was no direct contact from one person to another one. Most of the countries did not have central authority units for all the requests received and sent out. Nowadays, central authorities have been established and tailored training is organized to define needs and direct contact within the WACAP network. Trust within the network facilitates the sharing of information and promotes exchanges of good practices in terms of international cooperation which helps to carry out more efficiently requests on follow-up cases and relevant obstacles.
- Participated in the negotiation of conventions on extradition, mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and the transfer of convicted persons between the Government of the Republic of Niger and the Government of Italy.
- Deployment of the Nigerian liaison magistrate in Spain.
- Participated in the negotiation of 3 treaties on mutual legal assistance, extradition and transfer of prisoners between Italy and Mali and established partnerships for cooperation between the Italian Anti-Mafia National Direction (DNA) and Mali.
- A training of trainers on international judicial cooperation in trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrant cases was held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, in February 2019, and two trainings on adult teaching methodology were held in Accra, Ghana and in Abijan, Cote d'Ivoire.
- Contributed to two workshops in Lagos, Nigeria: the first was focused on the investigation and prosecution of complex organized crime and drug trafficking cases and the second was designed to strengthen integrity in the investigation and prosecution of complex cases.
- Conducted in collaboration with CRIMJUST a training on the legal framework of international cooperation in criminal matters for 27 magistrates, prosecutors and law enforcement officers of Liberia in August 2018.
A joint WACAP-E4J-SHERLOC workshop was organized in Bamako, Mali, with French-speaking African university teachers and trainers to regionalize the E4J modules on organized crime and to collect related legislation and case law. The E4J initiative forms part of UNODC’s Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration, adopted by the Thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in 2015 and endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in its Resolution 70/174. It recognizes the fundamental importance of universal education for children and youth, for the prevention of crime, terrorism, and corruption, as well as to promote sustainable development.
- 113 criminal justice practitioners from all WACAP member States were trained in order to be able to teach international cooperation in criminal matters to their peers in their respective countries in 2016. In 2017, their skills and knowledge were put into practice through a number of transference training targeting professionals of their respective national judicial systems. This initiative allowed for 333 prosecutors, judges, law enforcement officers, and INTERPOL agents, among them 55 women, from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape-Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo, to be trained on the subject of international cooperation in criminal matters and mutual legal assistance.
- Carried out a training session organized jointly with the CRIMJUST Project on investigating and prosecuting organized crime and drug trafficking in Lagos, Nigeria.
- Within the framework of the aforementioned initiative, a study was carried out by Dr. Bakary Sambe of the Timbuktu Institute - African Centre for Peace Studies, in collaboration with the WACAP team on how criminal justice and civil society actors could prevent and address violent extremism more effectively. 500 questionnaires were formulated and broadly distributed in the target countries and interviews were conducted with judges, magistrates, lawyers, prison personnel, civil society actors. As a result, a number of recommendations aimed to counter violent extremism more effectively through the use of the WACAP as a regional platform for dialogue between criminal justice actors and civil society were endorsed. These recommendations made up part of an action plan, the "Dakar Call to Action", which provides some key recommendations to governments, the judiciary institutions, and the civil society and may later serve as a reference in the implementation of activities to prevent and combat violent extremism at the national and regional levels.