14 May 2020 –The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), organized an “Online Consultative Meeting on Tailoring the South Asia Regional Toolkit for Judges,” in Sri Lanka. The opening session featured speeches by H.E. Ambassador Denis Chaibi, Head of the European Union Delegation to Sri Lanka and the Maldives and the Honourable V. K. Malalgoda, Justice of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka.
This meeting is a part of the “Strengthening the capacity of Sri Lanka to prevent and counter terrorism and violent extremism through effective criminal justice responses” project, implemented by UNODC with the financial support of the Government of Germany. Based on recommendations developed during CTED’s assessment visits to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, UNODC began delivering this project as well as the “Support to Maldives on Counter-Terrorism” project, with the International Criminal Police Organisation, and the financial support of the European Union.
During the meeting, participants and experts discussed adapting the regional toolkit to the country’s specific situation, procedures and legal frameworks, focusing on national counter-terrorism challenges identified by the country’s judiciary. UNODC and CTED facilitated the participation of two United States District Court judges and a Higher Regional Court judge from Germany as experts, allowing the delegations to benefit from their courtroom experience and subject-matter expertise.
From 2013 to 2018 CTED, with the active support and engagement of judges from all South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries and their implementing partner, the Global Center on Cooperative Security, developed the “South Asia Regional Toolkit for Judges: Supporting the Development of National Bench Books for the Effective Adjudication of Terrorism Cases” in response to the dramatic rise in terrorist activities globally, including in South Asia. The toolkit focuses on the region as a whole, providing practice-oriented guidance on the foundations for effective adjudication, judicial management of proceedings and international cooperation in terrorism matters. The Terrorism Prevention Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC/TPB) in close consultation with CTED and the judiciaries of Sri Lanka and the Maldives will work to customize the regional toolkit for use by judges in Sri Lanka and Maldives.