Supreme court justices play an important role in strengthening state capacities to bring terrorists to justice within the framework of human rights and the rule of law. As final arbiters, justices seated at the highest courts of law are the nation’s safeguards of the rule of law and human rights, especially when the executive and legislative branches favor national security over these individual rights.
The report synthesizes the discussions held with supreme court justices over the course of an 18-month program in the Euro-Med region (Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa), implemented in partnership with UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) and funded by the European Commission. The program aimed to create a sustainable, nonpolitical forum for supreme court-level and senior judicial officials to discuss, among equals, questions of law arising from terrorism-related cases and to share strategies, frameworks, and good practices for handling these cases over the course of five consultations. The final component of the program brought the First Presidents of the Cassation Courts of Lebanon and Tunisia, as well as other supreme court justices, to discuss their views on how the international community should respond to the threat of terrorism in an open briefing before CTED at the UN headquarters, held in March 2016.
The report is organized around priority issue areas raised by the justices over the course of the program and includes case studies, best practices, and legal commentary on possible resolutions to the common challenges they face in the adjudication of terrorism cases. It further describes a series of international and regional initiatives to support the judiciary, reflecting on the value of interjudicial exchanges in this domain.