27 April 2023
Each legal system is unique. Actual implementation is connected to a country’s individual history, culture, national laws, and regulations. Judicial independence and respecting fully the fundamental rights of all parties to a case is especially crucial in high profile cases, including those involving terrorism offences. These cases not only bring with them increased national and international scrutiny, they also present unique challenges to those tasked with adjudicating them.
The Global Counterterrorism Forum’s (GCTF) Criminal Justice and Rule of Law Working Group (CJ-ROL WG) are working towards establishing a set of good practices. The role of the judiciary in handling counterterrorism (CT) and other national security cases within a rule of law framework, are the cornerstone to the development of strong, independent judiciary systems.
These good practices as articulated in the Hague Memorandum on Good Practices for the Judiciary in Adjudicating Terrorism Offense have been compiled to assist judges to more effectively adjudicate cases that involve terrorism while respecting the rights of all parties involved in the cases, in particular the rights to a fair trial for the accused, and the protection of victims and witnesses.
The GCTF CJ-ROL Working Group, currently co-chaired by Italy and Nigeria, is dedicated to supporting the development of effective criminal justice systems within a rule of law framework and fully respecting human rights. It aims to ensure that persons who plan, perpetrate or support terrorist acts are brought to justice.
Key documents guiding the working Group activities are:
The Plenary Meeting of the GCTF CJ-ROL WG is the first under the Working Group Co-Chairs Italy and Nigeria. As per the CJ-ROL Working Group work plan for the period 2022-2024, the Plenary Meeting was an opportunity to highlight the CJ-ROL WG’s main priority areas. The sessions explore each priority area, highlighting good practices 4, 5, and 7 of the GCTF Hague Memorandum on Good Practices for the Judiciary in Adjudicating Terrorism Offense, and good practices 9 and 15 of the GCTF Rabat Memorandum on Good Practices for Effective Counterterrorism Practice in the Criminal Justice Sector. It will also provide the opportunity for participants to review the initiatives, programs and policies supported by the CJ-ROL Working Group and the ability to provide strategic guidance on the way forward.