On 20 June 2023, the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) hosted its first online training session to reinforce and expand Tunisian officials’ knowledge of chemical weapons and chemical security.
Twelve trainees from eight state authorities with different mandates pertaining to preventing, countering, and responding to chemical risks participated in the training.
The training was conducted within the framework of the project “ATLAS – Preventing non-state actors from planning and carrying out chemical weapons attacks through intelligence-led operations”.
The session was split into seven parts and looked at how to define chemical weapons and the chemical weapon threat. It also focused on armament dynamics, both for State and non-State entities, and provided case studies and information on the international response to chemical terrorism.
Mr. Francesco Marelli, Head of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Risk Mitigation and Security Governance Unit at UNICRI, and Colonel Baghdadi Jendli, Head of the Hazardous Materials Detection Unit at the Tunisian Customs Authority, officially opened the session, before subject-matter experts from UNICRI led the rest of the training.
The training consisted of frontal lectures as well as opportunities for questions and answers. Overall, the training was productive and contributed to enhancing national capacities to prevent chemical weapons attacks. The participants welcomed UNICRI’s support in providing capacity-building in a niche area – that of undercover operations and intelligence sharing – which will contribute to further maximizing existing capabilities at the national level.
Representatives from the Forensic Police, Customs, the General Directorate of Specialized Services, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Training Unit, the Civil Protection, the National Guard, the Directorate of Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of National Defence attended the event.
The next event will be a five-day in-person train-the-trainers course in Tunis, Tunisia from 11 to 15 September 2023, at which trainees will increase their knowledge on chemical security, while strengthening their training skills.
About ATLAS: Preventing non-state actors from planning and carrying out chemical weapons attacks through intelligence-led operations.
Atlas is a pilot project which aims to prevent non-state actors from planning and carrying out chemical weapons attacks by developing and implementing training programmes in North Africa. Designed within the framework of the European Union (EU) Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Centres of Excellence (CoE) Initiative, the ATLAS project is implemented by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and with the financial support of the United States (U.S.) Department of State (DoS).