A look inside EUCAP Sahel Mali

Since January 19th, 2015 and its official launch, the EUCAP SAHEL MALI mission provides for trainings in the Malian Police, Gendarmerie and National Gard. Criminal Investigation, but also the forensics, are of major importance to enhance their capacities.

Indeed, the Sahelo-Saharan region is particularly impacted by transnational organized crime and terrorism, which contributed to the destabilization of the Malian State. This report has been recently enlighted by an attack against a luxury hotel in Bamako.

The penal response to this phenomena largely rests on the skills and the professionalism of the Malian Police and Gendarmerie officers empowered to make investigations and arrests.

The quality of their work is fundamental for the success of the investigations and to guarantee a fair trial in the respect for the human rights. Criminal Investigation requires more and more specific training in sharp techniques (criminalistics, telephony, cybercrime…) in order to develop a culture of the asserted proof. However, it also requires some mastering method of investigation, a simple but rigorous approach.

Therefore, the EUCAP SAHEL MALI trainings addressing the leaders and experts of the Malian security forces, emphasize on a method of investigation and the operational management in the field of judicial inquiry.

In October 2015 the Mission organized an “Experts” training session for Directors of Investigations. Far from the image of a lonesome detective moving forward led by instinct, conducting a complex criminal investigation requires management skills over a team, a rigorous method and the respect of the criminal procedure. This course thus alternated the theoretical approach and practical situations, on the basis of an evolutionary scenario, in this particular case of a manslaughter.

The reconstitution of a crime scene, an elaboration of hypotheses based on a suspect’s interview, the writing of a summary report, were some of the exercises of this training course. A Prosecutor of Bamako also came in to present the expectations of his department towards the investigators, as well as a Gendarmerie officer who exposed his experience and feedback of an investigation he led to dismantle a gang of thieves.

 Focus on the training in Forensics

The raising of awareness and the trainings proposed by the Mission regarding forensics are well received by our Malian colleagues. The subject is an attractive one especially as it is a part of the vision of the police world given through the movies and the media today. It’s a positive image of modernity and professionalism for the Police.

As forensics lends itself well to the practice of exercises, even with rather rudimentary means, it contributes to the demystification of the world of “experts”.

Finally with its power of seduction forensics and criminal investigation are tools for motivation which are particularly interesting in order to help the Malians going toward reforms and questioning the former practices.

 Nevertheless the trainers are still facing difficulties and challenges to insure the practice of forensics. Our Malian counterparts revealed to be eager to learn, but rather as spectators than as actors of the criminal investigation. Beyond the acquisition of knowledge, they need help to buy in a modern Police model, to be proud of its professionalism, its ethics, inspiring respect and confidence with the population it protects.

 Therefore, the EUCAP trainers have to rely on strong and recognized qualities, experience and human qualities, in particular patience and tolerance, essential to understand that deep changes will take time. The motion “step by step”, “doni doni” in Bambara language, seems to be the most appropriate to help them move forward.

The progress seems slow and the way ahead is still long, but the enthusiasm of our companions remains a reassuring source of hope.

To know more about EUCAP Sahel Mali

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