In a briefing to the Security Council on 27 August 2019 on the ninth report of the Secretary-General on the threat posed by ISIL (Da’esh) to international peace and security and the range of United Nations efforts in support of Member States in countering the threat, Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director of CTED Michèle Coninsx stressed that substantial challenges remain in responding to the aftermath of the military defeat of ISIL, including repatriation, prosecution, and rehabilitation & reintegration of thousands of foreign terrorist fighters.
“In parallel to repatriation efforts, States – with the support of the UN system – also prepare to deal with the post-repatriation phase, issues of accountability, and the challenges involved in rehabilitation and reintegration,” stated Ms. Coninsx. The report (S/2019/612) was prepared by the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) and the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, in close collaboration with the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, other United Nations entities and international organizations.
In the report, the Secretary-General states “In the aftermath of the territorial defeat of ISIL, ISIL continues to aspire to global relevance, in particular through its affiliates and inspired attacks. The continuing concerns posed by returning fighters and their family members are also noted. Moreover, the report highlights ongoing threats and challenges, including the fact that the current lull in directed attacks by ISIL may be temporary, and the urgent need to address the processing and repatriation of detainees and internally displaced persons, including having to confront humanitarian, logistical, jurisdictional and human rights challenges while addressing security concerns.”
CTED continues to be fully engaged, together with its partners, in assisting States to address these challenges. ASG Coninsx shared one example of CTED’s engagement in this area which is their work in the Lake Chad Basin, where CTED has been working with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the International Organization for Migration, the United Nations Development Programme, and other UN entities to help States develop regional approaches to screening, prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration as part of the Regional Stabilization, Recovery and Resilience Strategy for Areas Affected by Boko Haram.
In her remarks, ASG Coninsx also explained that terrorists continue to demonstrate their interest in carrying out attacks targeting critical infrastructure and civilian or “soft” targets, including places of worship. “The Secretary-General, concerned by this trend, has tasked the Alliance of Civilizations to develop an action plan that supports Member States in their efforts to protect religious sites. CTED has identified the need for States to develop or expand existing national strategies and action plans to consider the risk and threat to such targets.”
The ninth report also points out that “The group is left with significant residual wealth, estimated to be as much as $300 million.” ASG Coninsx explained that during the last six months, the Security Council, supported by the Counter-Terrorism Committee and its Executive Directorate, has undertaken numerous activities aimed at countering the financing of terrorism. Ms. Coninsx highlighted the adoption of Secucity Council Resolution 2462, which is the first resolution focused solely on preventing and suppressing terrorism financing. Furthermore, in February, CTED published a study entitled Identifying and Exploring the Nexus between Human Trafficking, Terrorism and Terrorism Financing. Additionally, in July 2019, the Council adopted resolution 2482, requiring Member States to address the linkages between international terrorism, organized crime and terrorism financing.
Ms. Coninsx also spoke about terrorist exploitation of the Internet, social media and messaging apps, and how practitioners need improved skills and updated tools to access critical evidence and help prosecute and secure the conviction of terrorist suspects in judicial proceedings. “To help Member States address those challenges, CTED, UNODC and the International Association of Prosecutors developed the Practical Guide for Requesting Electronic Evidence Across Borders, which helps practitioners at the national level to gather, preserve and share electronic evidence with the overall aim of ensuring efficiency in mutual legal assistance matters.”