The phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) continues to pose a serious threat to international peace and security. Although accurate and reliable data are difficult to obtain, estimates suggest that over 40,000 individuals travelled from more than 120 countries to join these conflicts. Currently, the increased number of returning and relocating FTFs represents a major challenge to countries around the world.
UNODC’s FTF Manual for Judicial Training Institutes for Middle East and North Africa (MENA) (English I Arabic) was published in March 2021 within the framework of the European Union-UNODC Global Project on Strengthening the Legal Regime Against FTFs. It follows the publication by UNODC of a similar manual for South-Eastern Europe, issued in 2017 and updated in 2019. This FTF Manual contributes to the practical use and promotion of the GCTF The Hague-Marrakech Memorandum and its Addendum, as well as the Malta Principles developed by two GCTF Inspired Institutions—Hedayah and the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ).
A Practical Handbook
Revisiting the origins of the FTF concept and recounting the evolution of counterterrorism legal frameworks as well as technical grounding of law enforcement techniques to prevent and counter terrorism, this handbook invites the reader and training institution to explore:
- the FTF phenomenon (Chapter 1);
- the global and regional legal frameworks applicable to FTFs (Chapter 2);
- and the resort to online investigations to thwart or establish FTF-related offences, via the use of technology and e-tools (Chapter 3).
The ultimate goal of this publication is to better equip investigators, judges and prosecutors to address the FTF threat and carry out investigations and prosecutions of associated criminal offences. The manual also contains real-life case studies, in connection with six countries in the Middle East and Europe, together with analytical tables presenting pertinent figures and descriptions. In addition, the handbook provides concrete and practical insights on the online search tools, procedures and types of evidence, likely to lead investigators on the trail of FTF suspects, such as through open-source intelligence gathering (OSINT) and special investigative techniques.
UNODC continues to organize webinars and other virtual events to promote the use of this publication by criminal justice training academies and practitioners.
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