At a conference in Washington, DC, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Michèle Coninsx stressed the continued need for global cooperation by judicial and law enforcement bodies to counter the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh).
“As many foreign terrorist fighters as there are, there are also numerous jurisdictions and legal frameworks that seek to address the issue,” she said.
The conference, on “Mobilizing Law Enforcement Efforts to Defeat ISIL,” was attended by 300 senior-level stakeholders and practitioners from a broad range of Member States and organizations. Aimed at justice and law enforcement officials engaged in counter-terrorism, the conference took place on 27 and 28 February 2018, and was organized by the U.S. Department of State, in cooperation with INTERPOL and the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ). A key objective of the event was to highlight the recently adopted Security Council resolution 2396 (2017), on returning and relocating foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs), as well as related multilateral efforts, including those of the Global Counterterrorism Forum.
Ms. Coninsx, Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), stressed the need to deal effectively with women and children who returned from conflict zones to their countries of origin or relocated to third countries. Returning or relocating women and children could be victims as well as perpetrators, she noted. There was also a need to address the whole lifecycle of FTFs, provide appropriate reintegration and rehabilitation programmes, and ensure that prisons did not become facilitators of radicalization.
The Executive Director also recalled the measures to be implemented by Member States to strengthen their capacity to detect and identify FTFs. Derived from Council resolution 2396 (2017), those measures included the introduction of so-called Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR) systems, responsible use of biometric data, protection of critical infrastructure and soft targets, preventing terrorist access to weapons and improvised explosive devices, and collecting evidence from the military.
Ms. Coninsx highlighted a number of related initiatives taken by CTED in cooperation with its key partners, and reaffirmed CTED’s commitment to cooperate and coordinate with the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and other UN entities, as well as with relevant international and regional organizations. She also praised the good cooperation between CTED and UNOCT, led by Under-Secretary-General Mr. Vladimir Ivanovich Voronkov.
On the margins of the conference, a Joint Action Plan was signed by the CTED Executive Director and Mr. Tim Morris, Executive Director of INTERPOL Police Services.
A follow-up to the existing Cooperation Arrangement, the Joint Action Plan sets out joint objectives and priorities for cooperation over the next two years. The Cooperation Arrangement and Action Plan are intended to leverage expertise, optimize resources, reduce duplication of effort, foster synergies, and maximize the value of deliverables to Member States.
Highlighting the already solid partnership between CTED and INTERPOL, the Executive Director stressed that CTED would make every effort to promote INTERPOL tools and the INTERPOL Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in its work.