Member States and Central Authorities


International cooperation in criminal matters is the cornerstone of coordinated efforts to prevent and combat crime including terrorism in its transnational manifestations. Investigations and prosecutions of such crimes require the use of informal and formal means of cooperation to quickly obtain information and evidence.  Differences in legal systems, institutions, languages, and lack of trust often frustrate efforts to obtain cooperation from authorities in other countries. In West Africa, the capacities of judges/magistrates, prosecutors, and investigators in regards to judicial cooperation need to be strengthened.  Throughout most of the WACAP countries, there has been an expressed interest in training and awareness-raising concerning judicial cooperation.  In addition, some countries seek assistance to update outdated judicial cooperation laws. Others have recently established an office for international affairs to provide coordination and expertise needed for judicial cooperation requests.  

Due to the myriad of challenges in cooperation, many states have institutionalized the role of the Central Authority. While differences exist, such offices may coordinate the execution of incoming requests, serve as a source of expertise and advice concerning the drafting of requests, and serve as the repository on international cooperation for other government authorities, ensuring that national and foreign authorities have one coordinated entry point. While many countries do not have an institutionalized body performing this role, there appears to be growing recognition of the need for specialized capacity and the benefits of creating some centralized coordinating authority. They should serve as national focal points of expertise on judicial cooperation and play an active role in overcoming practical obstacles encountered in Mutual Legal Assistance practice. Given the difficulties in judicial cooperation, regional networks of central authorities and prosecutors serve an important role in facilitating international cooperation at formal and informal levels.  

Central authorities may be responsible for:

  • Preparing request
  • Reviewing request prepared by other national agencies
  • Sending request prepared by other agencies without reviewing them
  • Executing request
  • Sending a request for execution to other national agencies without reviewing it
  • Reviewing and send a request for execution to other national agencies
  • Litigating
  • Counseling  (national executing authorities)
  • Training  (national executing authorities)
  • Developing guidance/tools for requesting states
  • Drafting legislation

If you wish to know more about the functioning central authorities of the WACAP member states, do not hesitate to contact us through and we will provide you with contact details and useful information. 

You can request the last version of the UNODC Central Authority Directory by clicking on this link or go to to consult the regular updates.

Please note that the access to the CNA Directory is reserved for Permanent Missions to the United Nations and for the authorities listed in the directory.