As ISIL (Da’esh) continues to lose territory in the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq, it has moved into a new phase, marked in particular by the geographical dispersal of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs), and by the increase in attacks carried out against critical infrastructure and civilian (“soft”) targets. In this regard the Chairman of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), Egypt’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, H.E. Amr Aboulatta, highlighted that the global terrorist threat is evolving in scale and complexity.
This creates additional challenges for law enforcement and judicial officers, including relating to the collection, preservation, and sharing of evidence obtained in conflict and post-conflict settings that is admissible in criminal courts. On 8 November 2017, the CTC held a well-attended informal open briefing that focused on legal issues and emerging challenges relating to the treatment and prosecution of FTFs, including returnees.
In the first session, a CTED expert and Queen’s Counsel Brigadier-General (retired) Kenneth Watkin underscored the importance of a law enforcement and criminal justice approach to countering terrorism, which is based on human rights compliant arrest and detention over the killing of a suspect. The speakers focused on the role of the military in evidence collection for the investigation and prosecution of terrorists who commit terrorist acts in conflict zones.
In the second session, CTED underscored the importance of effective border management, including the so-called 4th digital border of the Internet, including the Dark web. In countering this challenge, INTERPOL emphasized cooperation and preemptive action to ensure access to the right information at the right time, including by making full use of databases and biometrics at the disposal of States.
Thanking the Members of the Committee and UN colleagues for the warm welcome she had received, CTED’s new Executive Director, Assistant Secretary-General Michèle Coninsx, stressed the need to prevent terrorist acts by fighting impunity and bringing terrorists to justice. She also highlighted the unique nature of CTED’s analytical work which draws on its assessments, broad network of partners, and in-depth knowledge of its experts.