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Push to bring terrorists to justice culminates this week

Oct 18. 2015
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By Jean-Paul Laborde

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A key element in countering terrorism is bringing terrorists to justice. It is often stressed that prosecution also constitutes prevention of terrorism. But how does that translate into concrete measures on the ground? One way is to promote regional coope

The challenges of deterring and bringing terrorists to justice are large in scope and the complexities often discouraging, however. In South Asia, terrorism is linked to a host of other challenges including the flow of illicit goods and persons – of explosives, illegal funds and suspected criminals – across porous borders. Developing the capacity of states, their law enforcement officials and members of the judiciary on both sides of the border to deal with these issues requires a cooperative, sustained approach.

As a testimony to our persisting efforts, this week’s workshop is the 10th of its kind in seven years. It marks the culmination – but not the end – of a process that has involved over 300 senior judges, prosecutors and police officials representing all of the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries, as well as donor countries Australia, Canada, Denmark, India, Sweden and the United States. Numerous international and regional organisations have sent representatives, including Aseanapol, Europol, Interpol, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Experts have come from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, the UK and the US, as well as from South Asian States.

An unconventional forum to ensure continuous dialogue among judges, prosecutors and police, the 10th workshop is coordinated by the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) in partnership with the Global Centre for Cooperative Security. Over three days, these experts will share their experiences and explore specific issues that arise in the context of terrorism-related cases, specifically issues linked to money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Efforts to thwart terrorist activities and to bring perpetrators to justice are both of paramount importance. CTED, and the United Nations system at large, are committed to continued engagement with the region. We stand ready to support the States of South Asia to prevent terrorist attacks before they happen – and to bring the perpetrators to justice when they do.

Jean-Paul Laborde is assistant secretary-general and executive director of the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate.

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