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The Gulf of Guinea Inter-regional Network

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Legal assessment

Legal and judicial aspects are a major issue in which the GoGIN project is involved by supporting the strengthening of legal frameworks for law enforcement operations at sea and prosecution of maritime criminals in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) region.

The team

Evaluations are conducted under the coordination of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), through its Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP), and in cooperation with the Interregional Coordination Centre of the Yaoundé architecture (ICC). These assessments are framed in the Code of conduct concerning the repression of piracy, armed robbery against ships, and illicit maritime activity in West and Central Africa, adopted in Yaoundé, on 25 June 2013, and related international conventions.


Bearing in mind the international legal framework, the assessments are focused on the domestic legislation applicable to criminal activities at sea, in particular, piracy, armed robbery and other unlawful acts against the safety of maritime navigation, drugs trafficking, IUU fishing, trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants, small arms trafficking, and associated transnational organized crime.

The legal assessments are an essential prerequisite for a full and thorough knowledge of the existing situation throughout the GoG region and may be the basis for law reforms and training activities to be considered jointly with the concerned State or under the SWAIMS project. The legal assessments cover the expected domains selected by the UNODC-GMCP: alignment on international legal framework, jurisdiction for State action at the sea and jurisdiction for prosecution.

The reports potentially include an inventory of the domestic legislation, an analysis of the relevant provisions of the law and a list of recommendations aiming to enhance the efficiency of the legal and judiciary system as well as of the law enforcement at sea. To this end, the assessments require missions in the field for collecting information about the legislation in force and understanding the practical aspects of its interpretation and implementation.

Country scope

With the aim to support activities funded by the EU SWAIMS project, it was agreed to conduct legal assessments in six ECOWAS’ member states (Cabo Verde, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone).