Detection and Intervention

Although preventing an individual from radicalizing to violence is clearly preferable, some individuals will escape timely detection, efforts may be unsuccessful, or the situation cannot be addressed at the prevention stage.

Detection graphic

A Human Rights-Compliant Approach

Law enforcement, legislative, judicial and other measures are needed to deter individuals or groups from committing crimes and to better detect, investigate and prosecute those radicalized individuals guilty of violent extremist crimes. The Rabat Memorandum on Good Practices for Effective Counterterrorism Practice in the Criminal Justice Sector provides a solid foundation for a rule of law, human rights-compliant approach to the issue. It recognizes that the primary objective of any effective criminal justice response to terrorism is to prevent terrorist incidents, but that it must also be able to respond to terrorist acts with fair and effective investigation, prosecution, and punishment in the unfortunate event that terrorist acts occur.

As UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon has said, “counter-terrorism should not be counter-productive.”



Alternatives to Prosecution and Incarceration

While investigation and prosecution under a rule of law framework are key to a successful counterterrorism approach, one of the central features of the Lifecycle Initiative is the notion that countries need to develop tools other than prosecution to deal with radicalized individuals, including returning FTFs. These can include intervention programs to divert suitable individuals from this path, or other alternatives to prosecution and incarceration, as laid out in Recommendations on Effective Use of Appropriate Alternative Measures for Terrorism-Related Offenses.

These types of approaches are particularly important when it comes to certain categories of individuals, such as juveniles or the mentally ill. Measures for juveniles must be specifically targeted, compliant with international law and juvenile justice standards, and take the well-being of the juvenile as one of the key starting points, as described in the Neuchatel Memorandum on Juvenile Justice in a Counterterrorism Context.

Countries should seek to involve a wide range of actors, both at the policy and operational levels, such as:

  • Social workers
  • Psychologists
  • Defense lawyers
  • Community leader
  • Judges
  • Prosecutors
  • Law enforcement officers


Risk Assessment Tools

It is also vital to apply appropriate risk assessment tools to reduce the level of risk to society as well as the individual, and to consider these alternative approaches as part of a broader strategy that will carry over into and affect the disengagement, rehabilitation and reintegration stage of the lifecycle. The IIJ’s Prison Management Recommendations to Counter and Address Prison Radicalization can be used with respect to terrorist suspects incarcerated prior to and during a trial, as well as for persons convicted of terrorist offenses and who are sentenced to prison.

Latest Initiatives

Coming soon:

This section will be used to highlight key initiatives being led by governments around the world which are advancing the GCTF’s lifecycle initiative

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