Supporting countries in Investigating and Prosecuting Financing of Terrorism

Since 2009, the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC/TPB) has been supporting Colombia’s efforts to counter terrorism and its financing. UNODC/TPB designed several advanced technical tools, practical simulations and good practices aimed at enhancing national capacities to prevent and prosecute these crimes.

Some examples of UNODC/TPB’s efforts to support successful interventions of criminal justice officials include mock trials and criminal investigations, a case management tool for comprehensive financing of terrorism investigations and a legislative guide as well as an Observatory of Jurisprudence.

The third edition of the mock trials took place in Colombia thanks to funding from the UNCCT. It was carried out under the auspices of the Counter- Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF)’s Working Group on Countering the Financing of Terrorism, chaired by UNODC/TPB.

While condemnatory sentences on financing of terrorism by judicial authorities were considered non-existent until very recently, as a positive result of UNODC/TPB work, the Seventh Criminal Judge of the Specialized Circuit of Bogota provided the fifth condemnatory sentence ever issued in Colombia on terrorist financing charges. Two leaders of criminal groups were sentenced to 13 years in prison. The sentence’s main facts linked these criminals with the trafficking and subsequent provision of firearms to FARC. In its preamble, the Judge highlights the relevance of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism adopted by the General Assembly in 1999, and Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001). He also made explicit reference to the case management tool designed by UNODC/TPB for Colombia to conduct comprehensive and effective investigations of this crime.

In 2015, through the strategic alliance with UNCCT and CTITF, UNODC/ TPB will transfer the knowledge and methodology of the mock trial tool to additional countries such as Argentina.

UNODC/TPB technical assistance provided to Colombia represents an important breakthrough in investigations and court proceedings. The condemnatory sentences on financing of terrorism pronounced by judicial authorities were considered non-existent until very recently. So far, five (5) of them have been already identified by the Observatory of Jurisprudence.