Counter-Terrorism Law and Practice: An International Handbook

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Unformatted text preview: BACKGROUND PAPER * This paper provides an overview of issues as background for the first workshop in the International Process on Global Counter-Terrorism Cooperation, which the Government of Switzerland is hosting on 21-22 January 2008 in Küsnacht (Zurich). It is intended to highlight some of the key issues for discussion under each of the main agenda items rather than serve as an exhaustive treatment of the topics to be addressed at the workshop. I. OVERVIEW OF PROBLEMS AND WEAKNESSES Like the International Process itself, this paper starts from the premise that &the UN is the sole organization with the stature and reach to achieve universal agreement on the condemnation of terrorism and to effectively address key aspects of the terrorist threat in a comprehensive manner.¡ 1 The central question is how to maximize the effectiveness of the UN in its efforts to combat terrorism. The focus of the workshop, and the larger International Process, will be on assessing the overall UN contributions to the fight against terrorism since September 2001 and identifying ways to make its institutions more relevant to national counter-terrorism strategies and better able to support implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The collaboration and coordination of work with non-UN stakeholders, in particular other multilateral bodies and civil society, will be addressed as well. The UN has made some important contributions to global counter-terrorism efforts so far. For example, the Security Council has established a broad counter- terrorism legal framework using its Chapter VII authority under the UN Charter and has established a number of subsidiary bodies to monitor states¢ efforts to implement it. The General Assembly and UN specialized agencies have used their norm-setting authority to set legal norms in various counter-terrorism-related fields. As a result, there are now some sixteen international treaties that criminalize nearly every imaginable terrorist offense and facilitate the law enforcement cooperation that is essential to bring terrorists to justice. In addition, UN functional organizations have developed international standards or best practices in areas such as aviation, maritime and port security, and travel documents. A number of these bodies, working closely with bilateral donors, have technical assistance programs to help states join the legal framework or implement the standards, with a view to creating a seamless global counter-terrorism web. Further, through its capacity building and training programs the UN has not only helped to identify vulnerabilities but address them as well. As a result of the growth in counter-terrorism activity since September 2001, both within and outside of New York, some of which was spurred on by the UN, there are now more than seventy multilateral bodies at all levels both within and outside the UN involved in this effort, but they are not functioning properly as part of an overarching integrated whole. Ongoing duplication of efforts and lack of information sharing and integrated whole....
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