15 March 2005
Country Visits Signal New Phase of Work for United Nations Counter-Terrorism Body
Counter-Terrorism Experts from International Organization Start Five-Day Onsite Dialogue with Morocco
NEW YORK, 14 March (UN Department of Public Information) -- The United Nations work to strengthen State capacity in fighting terrorism is shifting into a new phase as experts from the Organizations main counter-terrorism body begin onsite dialogue with Member State representatives. A five-day visit, began today by officials from the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) to Morocco, signals the beginning of the country visits as part of the work of the Security Councils Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC). The visiting team, lead by CTED Executive Director Javier Ruperez, also includes experts from the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), the World Customs Organization, the Financial Action Task Force and the European Union.
The purpose of country visits is to precisely assess, on location and in practice, how Member States implement the obligations of Security Council resolution 1373 adopted in 2001, as well as to evaluate the nature and level of assistance that a particular country may need in order to fulfil those obligations. The resolution -- which also established the Counter-Terrorism Committee -- calls on countries to implement a number of measures to enhance their legal and institutional capacity to be in a better position to counter terrorist activities nationally, regionally and globally.
In the first phase of its work, the Counter-Terrorism Committee and its newly established expert body, Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, collected written reports from Member States on how the various anti-terrorism measures set out by resolution 1373 are being implemented. Countries have been required to submit such reports annually. Those reports served as the basis of an active dialogue between the CTC/CTED and the respective Member State. The country visits are a follow-up of that dialogue in a more focused, practical manner with the national authorities that have the responsibility to implement the different aspects of resolution 1373. Therefore, such visits are conducted with the consent of the country and in full cooperation with its authorities.
Following each visit the counter-terrorism experts compile a report based on their onsite observations with the primary aim of identifying the assistance needs of the country. It is based on those needs and in full cooperation and consent with the respective Member State that the CTED then works with donor countries and international organizations to help meet those assistance needs.
A list of countries for onsite dialogue was proposed for the CTC, covering all the regions of the world, taking into account their state of compliance with resolution 1373 and their experience with terrorism. After Morocco, CTED experts will be visiting Albania, Kenya and Thailand in the course of the next few months.
Developing and strengthening State capacity to prevent terrorism is one of the five main elements of the United Nations comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy as proposed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan last week in Madrid. This pillar of the strategy specifically calls for a strong implementation of resolution 1373 by Member States and calls on the CTED to assess country needs and develop a comprehensive approach to technical assistance. (The other four pillars of the strategy call for dissuading disaffected groups from choosing terrorism as a tactic to achieve their goals; denying terrorists the means to carry out their attacks; deterring States from supporting terrorists; and defending human rights in the struggle against terrorism.)
Security Council resolution 1373 adopted on 28 September 2001 calls on Member States to: deny all forms of financial support for terrorist groups; suppress the provision of safe havens, sustenance or support for terrorists; share information with other governments on any groups practicing or planning terrorist acts; cooperate with other governments in the investigation, detection, arrest and prosecution of those involved in such acts; criminalize active and passive assistance for terrorism in domestic laws and bring violators of these laws to justice; become party as soon as possible to the relevant international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
The resolution established the Counter-Terrorism Committee comprising of all 15 members of the Security Council to monitor implementation of the resolution. The monitoring work was further enhanced when the Security Council established a Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) on 26 March 2004 (resolution 1535), to assist the CTC. The Executive Directorate is working to strengthen coordination and collaboration among governments and national, regional and international bodies. The Directorate is expected to help the CTC to broker technical assistance for those Member States that have insufficient capacity to meet their obligations. Resolution 1535 specifically recognized the importance of conducting country visits.
In order to assess the compliance of Member States with the obligations of resolution 1373, the CTED experts are focusing on the following five areas of counter-terrorism measures during country visits: anti-terrorism legislation (offences; penalties; competence of the courts; criminal procedure; special investigation measures; legislation on weapons, explosives and dangerous substances; legislation on asylum and immigration); measures against assets used for criminal purposes (anti-money-laundering legislation; legislation against the financing of terrorism; supervision of the non-financial sector; structures for oversight of the financial system; mechanisms for the seizure and confiscation of the proceeds of crime); effectiveness of law enforcement services (counter-terrorism machinery; coordination of services; early warning system; methods for combating and preventing criminal activities linked to terrorism); international cooperation (machinery for international cooperation in criminal matters; status of ratification of anti-terrorism conventions; modalities and effectiveness of judicial cooperation; modalities and effectiveness of police cooperation; modalities of cooperation with regional and international organizations); and territorial control (control of transborder movements of persons; control of cargo; mechanisms for issuance and control of identity and travel documents; methods for the prevention and detection of forgery and fraud).
For more information on the work of the CTC/CTED (including the period reports of Morocco), please visit the following Web site: www.un.org/terrorism or contact Janos Tisovszky, United Nations Department of Public Information, tel: +1-917-367-2068 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.