International cooperation by central authorities “essential” to bringing terrorists to justice, CTED expert tells regional meeting in Morocco

The first in a series of regional meetings on establishing or strengthening effective central authorities to process foreign requests for mutual legal assistance (MLA) and extradition in criminal matters related to terrorism was held in Marrakesh, Morocco, from 22 to 24 January 2014.

The meeting was jointly organized by CTED, UNODC and the League of Arab States as part of a global initiative launched a year ago in Colombia.

"Establishing effective central authorities that receive and process requests for MLA and extradition is essential in bringing terrorists to justice," said Sue Takasu, CTED Senior Legal Officer.

"Terrorists operate beyond national borders and abscond to foreign territories looking for safe haven," Ms. Takasu added. "Close international cooperation makes it possible to extradite criminals."

The procedures involved in responding to foreign requests can be complicated and time-consuming. A competent central authority helps ensure a faster and more effective response.

Practitioners from 10 MENA countries and experts from international and regional organizations took part in the event. The participants identified challenges and explored ways to improve the effectiveness of central authorities and enhance cooperation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. They stressed the advantages of creating a single, central authority that reinforces the use of diplomatic channels.

Ms. Takasu also noted the importance of establishing good communication with other national central authorities: "Even if perfect legislation and mechanisms exist, nothing can work without the willingness of competent authorities to cooperate across borders in terrorism cases".

CTED and UNODC work to support Member States and regional organizations to facilitate international cooperation in the MENA region.

This page was last updated on: 11-Feb-2014 10:56 AM EST