Conclusion: Capacity Building

It is vital for States to assist each other in developing the necessary capacity to confront terrorism through the criminal justice system. Accordingly states should in the first instance have a modern, fair and efficient criminal justice system that forms the basis for a robust criminal justice response to terrorism. Thus, capacity building is a core element in an effective counterterrorism program. This Working Group encourages all States and relevant multilateral bodies to participate in such efforts.

Capacity-building programs should be designed to ensure that law enforcement and criminal justice officials understand and implement the good practices discussed above that are consistent with their legal requirements and circumstances. Furthermore, counterterrorism enforcement should be conducted within a framework that respects human rights and promotes the rule of law and good governance.

States are encouraged to submit offers of assistance and requests for assistance to the GCTF Administrative Unit using the form in the attached addendum to improve cooperation in counterterrorism capacity building efforts in a way that is most consistent with the priorities and legal systems as well as the special circumstances of each state. The Working Group Co-Chairs will, in cooperation with the GCTF Administrative Unit, share requests for and offers of assistance with all Working Group members on a timely and regular basis.

This Working Group recognizes that there is no obligation on any state to provide or receive assistance. Such offers or requests should be based on the sovereign decision of each state based on its legal system, priorities, needs, and circumstances.


Use the Enumerated Good Practices as One Tool to Guide Capacity-Building

The Working Group encourages all states to consider using the Good Practices as a non-binding guide for implementing counterterrorism capacity-building assistance activities. States should keep in mind that the above Good Practices may be updated over time to take into account the experiences of states in using their criminal justices systems to counter and prevent terrorism.


Increase Focus on Institutional Development

Effective efforts to combat terrorism—and to conduct proactive investigations—will often require reform and increased professionalization and specialization of relevant criminal justice entities.27


Further Inter-governmental Coordination

As noted above, one of the fundamental obstacles to effective investigation and prosecution is often the lack of coordination, cooperation, and information sharing among public safety, law enforcement, intelligence, and prosecutorial agencies. Encouragement of institutional mechanisms, such as interagency task forces, to coordinate among various agencies of government is key to overcoming obstacles.


Encourage Skills Development and Specialized Expertise

As noted above, to effectively use the criminal justice system to counter terrorism, countries should consider developing a professional cadre of practitioners in every component of the criminal justice system.28 Given the increasingly complex and highly specialized nature of terrorism investigations and prosecutions, States can benefit from ensuring that law enforcement officials, judges, and prosecutors are provided with specialized counterterrorism training and skills to develop and implement the above-mentioned tools effectively. Given the international nature of the terrorist threat, specialized expertise in international cooperation, including the development of effective central authorities, is also critical.

27. Some international conventions provide for specialized authorities to deal with a specific issue. The UNCAC, for example, says that each State Party shall “ensure the existence of a body or bodies or persons specialized in combating corruption through law enforcement. Such body or bodies or persons shall be granted the necessary independence… to be able to carry out their functions effectively and without any undue influence. Such persons or staff of such body or bodies should have the appropriate training and resources to carry out their tasks.” UNCAC, art. 36. 

28. In the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, the General Assembly recognizes “that States may require assistance in developing and maintaining [an] effective and rule of law-based criminal justice system” and encourages “them to resort to the technical assistance delivered, inter alia, by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.” UN Strategy, Plan of Action, Sec. 4, Para. 4. In addition, United Nations conventions have recognized the importance of specialized training across the entire spectrum of the criminal justice system. “Each State Party shall… initiate, develop, or improve specific training programs for its law enforcement personnel including prosecutors, investigating magistrates and customs personnel, and other personnel charged with the prevention, detection and control of the offences covered by this convention.” UNTOC, art. 29.