Countering Terrorism: Experts Push For Protection Of Child Terrorists

An international conference on legal instruments for protection of children facing terrorism charges opened in Yaounde October 10


Legal experts from Niger, Mali, Senegal, and Djibouti have joined their Cameroonian counterparts in Yaounde in a conference to brainstorm on legal instruments that would protect the rights of children facing terrorism charges. The 3-day conference organised by the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ) in collaboration with the Advanced School of Administration and Magistracy (ENAM) kicked off Tuesday October 10.

Representatives of police forces, lawyers, judges, penitentiary administrators, and administrators from judiciary institutions from the aforementioned countries are continuing a process which aims at carving out international norms for trial of minors within the Countering Terrorism framework. The main instrument under review is the GCFT Neuchâtel Memorandum on Good Practices for Juvenile Justice in a Counterterrorism Context. The document was drafted by the IIJ under the guide of the Swiss government at the global countering extremism forum in 2016.

Celine Glutz is Senior Adviser on Counter-Terrorism and Prevention of Violent Extremism at the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. She was one of the key speakers at the opening of the conference in Yaounde. She said the meeting is a platform for participants to share experiences and best practices, noting that the training program drawn from the Neuchâtel Memorandum would enable participants to draw up a tool kit for actors in the domain of juvenile justice.

Phillipe Nsoa, Superscale Magistrate who heads the Judiciary Division of ENAM represented the school. “Most children are either forced or manipulated into terrorism. They are not to be tried in military tribunals. They are to be treated differently even when found guilty;” he said, adding that as a key player in the training of experts in administration, magistracy and finance in the Central African Sub Region, the school has taken the lead in countering extremism in the region. ENAM is one of the participating schools and provided administrative support for the organization of the conference.

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