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Peace Operations in Complex Environments: Dealing with Armed Groups Designated as Terrorist Organizations in the Sahel

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In order to master the challenges posed by Armed Groups Designated as Terrorist Organizations (AGDTOs), peace operations need to apply people-centered approaches specifically tailored to the social, economic, cultural and political conditions of the host country and the affected local communities. It is crucial to develop national capacities to address AGDTOs and at the same time to improve the coordination of international responses with both state and non-state actors. The goal is to create clear national frameworks for a comprehensive engagement with AGDTOs that respect international law but do not restrict conflict resolution, peacebuilding and humanitarian efforts.

The international community needs to further strengthen state services and their presence in remote areas while promoting justice reform and the rule of law. A key aspect in this regard is guaranteeing complementarity among interventions, in particular the implementation of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) processes and alternative accountability mechanisms, including as appropriate prosecution of gross human rights violations. Finally, in targeting AGDTOs a balance must be struck between standard repressive approaches and elements of transitional justice that focus more on guarantees of non-repetition, reconciliation and reintegration of communities and individuals.