Stepping up efforts against terrorism, United Nations counter-terrorism experts today began their first on-site country visit, opening a new phase in the world body’s work to strengthen state capacity in fighting the scourge.
Officials from the UN Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED), led by Executive Director Javier Rupérez, arrived in Morocco for a five-day visit, beginning the country visits of the Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC).
The visiting team also includes experts from the global police coordination centre, Interpol, the World Customs Organization, the Financial Action Task Force and the European Union. After Morocco, CTED experts are scheduled to visit Albania, Kenya and Thailand in the next few months.
The purpose of the visits is to precisely assess on location and in practice how Member States implement the obligations of Security Council Resolution 1373, adopted in 2001 after the 11 September terrorist attacks against the United States, as well as to evaluate the nature and level of assistance that a particular country may need to fulfil those obligations.
The resolution, which established the CTC, 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, CTC and its newly established expert body, CTED, collected written reports from Member States on how the various anti-terrorism measures set out by resolution 1373 are being implemented. 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.
Developing and strengthening state capacity to prevent terrorism is one of the five main elements of the UN comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy proposed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan last week at a counter-terrorism summit 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 resolution calls on Member States to deny all forms of financial support for terrorist groups, suppress the provision of safe haven, sustenance or support for terrorists, share information with other governments on any groups practising or planning terrorist acts, and cooperate with other governments in the investigation, detection, arrest and prosecution of those involved in such acts.
It also enjoins them to criminalize active and passive assistance for terrorism in domestic laws and bring violators of these laws to justice, and to become party as soon as possible to the relevant international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.