“Establishing the rule of law in societies traumatized by conflict or mired in its precursors is among the top priorities of UN peacekeeping, peacebuilding and special political mission’’ (Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General, June 2012)
MINUSMA's Justice and Corrections Section supports national authorities in restoring the rule of law in northern Mali in the field of justice and detention in close collaboration with other partners, donors and international organizations who work in the same field.
Within MINUSMA, the section works closely with the Human Rights Division and Gender Unit. These sections support the Malian authorities in the field of prosecution of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Mali.
Together with UNDP (the United Nations Development Programme), the section works on the implementation of the "Global Focal Point for the Rule of Law", to define a framework for complementary action between UNDP and MINUSMA in the areas of justice and corrections in Bamako, Timbuktu and soon in Kidal as well.
Strategy and key activities
In the field of justice, the section's activities are mainly focused on:
- Support for the reform of the justice sector
- Advice on measures that can help reduce arbitrary detentions, as well as on tools that allow for judicial decisions to be reached more quickly, while simultaneously improving access to justice and transparency in the judicial system
- Training and technical assistance for judges
- Technical assistance in raising funds for the construction and rehabilitation of relevant infrastructure in the north
- Technical assistance in raising funds for the construction and rehabilitation of eleven tribunals
- Training of 300 judges, prosecutors, lawyers, police and military personnel on standards of national and international criminal justice, human rights, international humanitarian law, gender-based violence and terrorism
- Support for the development of projects in the field of justice
- Support for the organization of public hearings
- Support for the organization of judicial inspections
- Training and capacity building of partners
In the field of corrections, the section's activities are mainly focused on:
- Supporting the mobilization of financial and material resources for the rehabilitation of detention centres in Bamako
- Improving the conditions of detention
- Reducing the number of prisoners being held in one prison
- Providing technical assistance to raise funds for the training of 400 prison guards in controlling high-risk prisoners, international standards on the treatment of prisoners, human rights and the management of incidents in prison
- Raising funds for the construction of high-security prisons in Bamako, Koulikoro and Kati to house serious criminals, including those who were arrested during military operations in the north
- Providing technical support to improve security in prisons
- Strengthening the capacities of prison officers
- Providing technical assistance for the establishment of a database of detainees in Mali
- Providing support for the development of projects and programmes in the field of corrections
The section has a presence in Bamako, Mopti, Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal and supports the efforts of the local authorities. In 2013, the section conducted an evaluation of judicial and corrections institutions with the national authorities and UNDP. The main conclusions and actions to take were identified with key stakeholders, and primarily the Malian authorities, to promote sustainability and ownership.
In addition, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, David Gressly, has conducted several joint missions (MINUSMA, UNDP) to the regions of Timbuktu and Kidal in order to identify areas of intervention and complementarities to harmonize the actions of the UN system in the area of justice and corrections.
The Malian authorities, UNDP, UNODC, the European Union, USAID, DFID, bilateral partners (the Netherlands, Germany, USA, France, Canada and Denmark), the ICRC Office in Mali, NGOs and other associations that are active in the field of justice and corrections.
Partnerships with other stakeholders will be developed progressively.