Member States’ law enforcement agencies must constantly adapt to a global terrorist threat that has evolved significantly over the past decade, both in scale and complexity. The current terrorism environment is marked in particular by increasingly sophisticated abuse of information and communications technology (ICT), greater terrorist mobility, home-grown terrorism, and the actions of terrorists acting alone or in small cells.
Security Council resolution 1373 (2001) requires Member States to “ensure that any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts or in supporting terrorist acts is brought to justice”. In order to comply with this requirement, it is essential that States establish fully functioning and professional law enforcement capacities. Because of the transnational nature of terrorism, these capacities must also be reflected at the regional and international levels.
In many cases, transnational law enforcement cooperation remains at the developmental stage. Such cooperation is crucial, however, especially when several States of the same region are exposed to the same terrorist threat. One of CTED’s focus areas is therefore to facilitate international and regional cooperation, ideally through the establishment of a regional mechanism that can bring together the law enforcement agencies of several States.
Based on information gathered in the context of country visits undertaken on behalf of the Committee, CTED has developed a clear picture of national law enforcement capacities and the status of cooperation in all regions of the world. By comparing this information against the identified threats to each State and region, CTED is able to recommend ways to address the identified shortfalls and facilitate delivery of technical assistance required to strengthen terrorism-related law enforcement and criminal justice procedures.
Effective cross-border cooperation is an essential component of national coordination and cooperation efforts. CTED therefore also promotes the establishment of national coordination mechanisms, as appropriate. Within the framework of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF), CTED is Chair of the Working Group on Border Management and Law Enforcement Relating to Counter-Terrorism.
In response to the current terrorist environment, States are increasingly integrating intelligence into law enforcement operations. There is a need to develop effective mechanisms for the transfer of critical intelligence to law enforcement agencies, especially in cases where acting on such intelligence will help save the lives of innocent people. Law enforcement agencies themselves are also becoming more involved in acquiring intelligence. The work of CTED in this area includes ensuring that such activities respect the rule of law and human rights.
In order to bring terrorists to justice, law enforcement agencies must be able to conduct criminal investigations in a manner that enables the prosecution to bring the case before a court. This requires a professional investigative capacity, as well as close cooperation between investigators and prosecutors. CTED promotes such cooperation by identifying investigators’ technical assistance needs in areas such as crime-scene management, forensic analysis, the collection of evidence, and overall analytical capacity. CTED also works to identify emerging terrorist trends to help law enforcement agencies develop effective operational countermeasures and strategies.