The International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ) and the Global Center co-hosted a lunchtime discussion focusing on criminal justice and rule of law efforts to address the challenges posed by foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs). A keynote address was given by John P. Carlin, Assistant Attorney General for National Security in the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. A panel discussion followed with speakers Jean-Paul Laborde, Executive Director of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), Trevor Rajah, Chief of the Terrorism Prevention Branch at UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and Rob Strang, Interim Executive Secretary at the IIJ. The event was moderated by Alistair Millar, Executive Director of the Global Center.
Speakers reflected on the criminal justice components of resolution 2178, which calls on states to strengthen domestic criminal legislation to prosecute FTFs and to undertake various steps to improve international cooperation, such as by sharing information on criminal investigations, interdictions and prosecutions. Enhancing countering violent extremism (CVE) efforts while strengthening the role of the United Nations across these areas is also underscored in the resolution. The United States, United Kingdom, and Nigeria, for example, have established their own national CVE strategies and Morocco has developed a counter-radicalization strategy and has provided technical assistance and shared good practices with neighboring countries. In addition, under the auspices of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) Working Groups, a number of bilateral and multilateral CVE initiatives have been developed, particularly in West Africa and the Sahel, the Horn of Africa, and South Asia.
Speakers also explored ways in which the United Nations, particularly through CTED and UNODC could help to implement resolution 2178, and also the Hague-Marrakech Memorandum on Good Practices for a More Effective Response to the FTF Phenomenon which was adopted by the GCTF on 23 September 2014. The memorandum is intended to inform and guide interested governments in their development of comprehensive policies to address the FTF challenge, specifically with regard to radicalization, recruitment, traveling and fighting abroad, and reintegration. Insights were offered on how the IIJ can support capacity building efforts that promote a criminal justice and rule of law based response to the FTF phenomenon in particular, and to terrorism and violent extremism in general.
The Global Center has undertaken a number of projects to support the establishment of the IIJ. In partnership with the Institute for Security Studies and International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague, the Global Center led a six-month stakeholder consultation process supported by the Netherlands to help inform the IIJ’s curriculum development process. With the support from the European Union, experts from the Global Center and Civi.Pol Conseil conducted an assessment of criminal justice training needs in key constituent states to help identify the IIJ’s initial course selection. The IIJ and Global Center are currently engaged in an initiative to equip judges in the Middle East and North Africa to adjudicate terrorism cases in compliance with international and human rights law. The Global Center is also contributing to the IIJ’s first generation of trainings through the development and delivery of a trainers course on noncoercive interview and interrogation techniques, and a trainers course on the use of intelligence in investigating and prosecuting terrorism cases.