Promoting the rule of law and justice in West Africa – Niger
Title: Promoting the rule of law and justice in West Africa
Commissioned by: German Federal Foreign Office
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Justice
Overall term: 2012 to 2014
Marked by decades of authoritarian political leadership, Niger is currently in a phase of democratic development. The government is faced with the great challenge of securing the credibility and sustainability of the judiciary and the rule of law in Niger. The judiciary and law enforcement authorities continue to be poorly equipped, and there is a lack of infrastructure and well-trained personnel. Particularly the northern part of the country is in a difficult situation. Increasing Islamist radicalisation, insufficient presence of security forces and the lack of law enforcement authorities, but also the latest political developments in the neighbouring countries of Libya and Mali, offer scope for drug and weapons trafficking, the preparation of attacks, and kidnappings. Even before March 2011, the provisional government began to meet these challenges by adopting a comprehensive national action plan to reform the judiciary.
The focus is on securing the country's borders and qualifying judicial and security personnel. The Ministry of Justice's activities place particular emphasis on the training of personnel.
The legal and judicial systems in Niger have been strengthened, particularly regarding training, access to justice and other legal and organisational reforms.
Selected objectives of the Ministry of Justice’s national action plan for reform from 2010 to 2014 of are being supported in the following intervention areas:
- Qualifying judiciary personnel (initial and advanced training) at national and regional levels
- Supporting judicial reform with advice on legislation, reform approaches and strategy development
- Improved access to justice, including financing mobile courts, equipping courts, training court personnel, and free legal advice for the public
- Improving legal documentation: printing and disseminating legal literature and legal texts for the judiciary as well as developing databases and judicial archives
Results achieved so far
The judicial training institution (Ecole Nationale de l’Administration et de la Magistrature, ENAM) has been equipped and advised on developing curricula and training modules. Specific training events for judiciary personnel have been held on topics related to criminal, criminal procedural and land law.
The Justice Ministry received advice and financial support in setting up and structuring a reform commission to draft the ‘Etats Généraux de la Justice au Niger’ (baseline study and evaluation of the judiciary) in 2012. Numerous points for reform were identified and will now be addressed by a commission.
In the Dosso court district, support has been provided for mobile courts. These courts have made it possible to conclude approx. 70 per cent of the pending civil and criminal cases in the rural areas. This created more efficient access to justice for those living in remote areas.
The national archive was presented with technical and IT equipment to set up databases and establish an official journal to publish legal texts.