International humanitarian law virtual side event  for second United Nations Counter-Terrorism Week

Towards ensuring comprehensive and meaningful accountability: linkages between terrorism and serious violations of international humanitarian law.  25 June 2021 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. EDT. #BringTerroristsToJustice

The conduct of terrorist groups often overlaps in scope with crimes under international law, including serious violations of international humanitarian law amounting to war crimes, as well as crimes against humanity and genocide. Groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as Daesh; Al-Qaida; Boko Haram; and others have perpetrated mass executions and summary killings, indiscriminate and deliberate targeting of civilians, kidnappings and arbitrary detention, recruitment and use of children in hostilities, rape and other forms of sexual violence, as well as attacks on, and destruction of, protected objects such as schools and hospitals, and cultural and religious sites.

The United Nations has consistently denounced systematic and widespread abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law committed by terrorist actors, including in armed conflict contexts and called for those responsible for terrorist acts, and violations of international humanitarian law or violations or abuses of human rights, to be held accountable. However, Member States have faced considerable challenges in ensuring that terrorist acts and related serious violations of international humanitarian law are duly investigated and prosecuted in national courts. In the context of the foreign terrorist fighter phenomenon, criminal justice systems across the world have been confronted with significant hurdles when seeking to collect and present evidence in relation to conduct that has often been perpetrated thousands of miles away, and sometimes in areas that are impacted by instability and armed conflict and may experience a breakdown of rule of law institutions.  These include challenges in securing evidence from crime scenes in a manner that allows for its use in domestic proceedings, and obtaining testimonial, documentary and digital evidence capable of directly connecting persons of interest to specific geographic locations and criminal acts.

The side event will take stock of efforts aimed at tackling these challenges in support of delivering comprehensive accountability for the acts of members of terrorist groups. Building on the theme of transformative technologies and their role in countering terrorism, it will explore ways in which information obtained in conflict zones (sometimes referred to as “battlefield evidence”) and diverse digital tools can facilitate criminal investigations and related prosecutions and thereby contribute to the delivery of justice, as a cornerstone of sustainable peace and security.  The event will also consider how those engaged in accountability efforts can ensure such evidence can be collected and presented before national courts in full conformity with applicable international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law.

The virtual side event will be held via Microsoft Teams on Friday, 25 June 2021, from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. EDT. The meeting will be conducted in English.

The concept note for the virtual side event is available here

The agenda for the virtual side event is available here.  

You can register here: