Effective Judicial Responses to Terrorist Offenses

Effective Judicial Responses to Terrorist Offenses

In East and West Africa, many of the crimes that insurgent groups commit constitute not only terrorist offenses, but a wide range of other offenses, including sexual and gender-based violence, human trafficking, and other core international crimes. Criminal justice responses to terrorism can only be effective if investigators and prosecutors understand and rely upon the full range of legal tools available to them to hold terrorists accountable for the full scope of their actions.

The International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ), through its Judicial Capacity-Building Initiative, joined forces with the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) to hold a series of workshops for Anglophone and Francophone practitioners from East and West Africa. The workshops enable practitioners to understand how to identify terrorist activity that has linkages to other crimes, and to investigate and charge that activity using all the applicable criminal laws, and not solely those laws specifically focused on terrorism. These sessions address terrorist activity that can be charged as sexual and gender-based violence, human trafficking, child exploitation, slavery, and core international crimes, notably war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

These online capacity-building sessions drew upon the GCTF Memorandum on Criminal Justice Approaches to the Linkages between Terrorism and Core International Crimes, Sexual and Gender-based Violence Crimes, Human Trafficking, Migrant Smuggling, Slavery and Crimes against Children, the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, and UN Security Council Resolutions 2331 (2016) and 2388 (2017).

Regional workshops such as these support practitioners in their efforts to strengthen criminal justice responses that help end impunity for terrorist offences, holding terrorists accountable for the full range of crimes they have committed, developing methodologies to repair harm and restore dignity for victims, and preventing the commission of these serious crimes in the future.

Putting Training into Practice: Testimonials
The ICCT and IIJ Workshop on Criminal Justice Approaches to the Linkages between Terrorism and Core International Crimes has helped me gain more trust with our prosecution counsels. I learned that many have completed similar training and are very welcoming to exchange ideas and good practices learned with officers who have this kind of enlightenment towards the criminal justice system. This workshop has helped me to see a different perspective and helped me in my daily professional practice to approve criminal justice strategies in relation to the cooperation with the state prosecutors. Paul Machira (Kenya, Deputy OC, Anti-Terrorism Police Unit).

The procedures that we apply in the domestic legislation were significantly improved due to new legal tools and good practices learned during the program. For instance, with the cases of gender-based violence crimes, we have started to examine the various set of evidence available connected to other crimes as well. Ali Abdullahi (Somalia, Prosecutor, the Attorney General’s Office).

IIJ is a GCTF Inspired Institution. The Inspired Institutions are independent organizations that complement the Forum’s mission and reinforce the practical use of GCTF resources across the globe.

Photo Credit: photo provided by the IIJ