Counter-terrorism event to highlight successes and challenges in bringing terrorists to justice
Senior counter-terrorism prosecutors and experts from around the world shared their views and experience in bringing terrorists to justice at a seminar hosted by the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) from 1 to 3 December 2010 at UN Headquarters in New York.
At the opening session of the event, Ms. Asha-Rose Migiro, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, spoke on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon about the important role prosecutors and experts play in countering terrorism: “Your day-to-day work places you on the frontlines of denying safe haven, strengthening border controls and pursuing leads, all in the name of bringing terrorists to justice and helping victims and survivors.”
Mr. Ertuğrul Apakan, Permanent Representative of Turkey and Chair of the CTC, echoed Ms. Migiro’s remarks. “Prosecutors form the essential bridge between law enforcement authorities, who are involved in the arrest and investigation of terrorists, and the judicial authorities, who must determine the level of guilt and punishment to be imposed,” Mr. Apakan said.
Topics discussed throughout the seminar included cooperation against terrorism, evidence and witnesses, extradition, investigation of attacks, mutual legal assistance, prevention of terrorism, and prosecution of terrorism cases.
A key objective of the seminar was to highlight the successes of Member States in these critical areas and to acknowledge the challenges encountered by different legal systems. “Their cooperation across borders is vital in countering terrorism, a serious threat to international peace and security,” said Mr. Mike Smith, head of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED).
Security Council resolution 1373 (2001) requires all Member States to bring terrorists to justice. However, the country visits and other activities of the Committee have shown that this requirement poses a major challenge for criminal justice systems.
“Experience of Member States shows that despite facing obstacles due to the complexity of terrorism cases it is possible to bring terrorists to justice while also respecting the rule of law and human rights,” said Mr. Smith.
Prosecutors agreed that international cooperation can help minimize challenges. Harmonizing laws, carrying out joint investigations, and simplifying and expediting extradition procedures were among their suggestions to improve the situation.
As a follow-up to the seminar, CTED will submit to the Committee a report, for its consideration, compiling challenges and good practices developed and employed by the participating prosecutors. CTED will use the report as a tool in its discussions with Member States and international, regional and subregional organizations.