Lifecycle Initiative Toolkit

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.

Rabat-Washington Good Practices on the Prevention, Detection, Intervention and Response to Homegrown Terrorism

These non-binding good practices are intended to assist policymakers and practitioners as they develop, implement, and evaluate policies and programs to confront the homegrown terrorism phenomenon. This document is intended to be a complementary piece to The Hague-Marrakech Memorandum on Good Practices for a More Effective Response to the FTF Phenomenon (The Hague-Marrakech Memo) and the Addendum to The Hague-Marrakech Memorandum focusing on returning FTFs, in order to ensure a comprehensive response to the current terrorism landscape.


Good Practices on Regional Border Security Issues Related to Terrorism and Other Transnational Crime Suspects in the Sahel Region

The Sahel region is noteworthy for its vast, sometimes ill-defined, and lightly patrolled land borders. Terrorists exploit this geographical feature by planning attacks in one State, committing them in another, and returning to the first State or traveling to a third State. Terrorist groups also take advantage of weak border controls to plan and execute the kidnappings for ransom that are now an established and significant source of funding for terrorist training and recruitment. Additionally, criminal actors whose activities may intersect with and enable those of terrorist groups—including weapons, drugs, and human smugglers—exploit weak border controls.


Valletta Recommendations Relating to Contributions by Parliamentarians in Developing an Effective Response to Terrorism

Terrorism is a global phenomenon that presents a direct and multi-faceted threat to human security. States have a responsibility to protect populations from terrorism-related threats, which requires actions taken consistent with human rights and the rule of law. Legislatures bear a primary responsibility in the establishment of such a framework. An engaged and independent legislative body is a critical element in developing a legitimate and comprehensive counter terrorism (CT) strategy that ensures an effective response to terrorism including with necessary oversight measures to protect human rights.


Doha Plan of Action for Community-Oriented Policing in a Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Context

This action plan enumerates an illustrative list of rule of law-based COP initiatives that ensure a human rights-centered approach for interested GCTF members and partners to consider taking forward to advance the implementation of those good practices.


Prison Management Recommendations To Counter And Address Prison Radicalization

Recommendations related to the issue of prison and prisoner management as it relates to preventing and addressing the violent extremist radicalization of prisoners (and even prison staff).


The Hague-Marrakech Memorandum on Good Practices for a More Effective Response to the FTF Phenomenon

The threat posed by “Foreign Terrorist Fighters” (FTFs) – individuals who travel abroad to a State other than their States of residence or nationality to engage in, undertake, plan, prepare, carry out or otherwise support terrorist activity or to provide or receive training to do so (often labeled as “terrorist training”) – is a major issue for international and national security. Governments continue to grapple with how to address the complex set of challenges posed by this threat. Many countries are concerned that the rising number of people, especially youth, radicalized to violence and traveling to fight or train alongside terrorist groups in conflict and non-conflict areas will become further radicalized and pose a new terrorist threat to their home or third countries, including transit countries.


The Hague Memorandum on Good Practices for the Judiciary in Adjudicating Terrorism Offenses

A strong and independent judiciary that fairly and expeditiously adjudicates terrorism and other national security offenses is critical for public confidence in the legitimacy of judicial institutions, is an effective deterrent to terrorism, and minimizes the risk of violations of fundamental human rights.


GCTF Lifecycle Initiative Annotated Guide

The world today is facing an increasingly sophisticated terrorist threat that is transnational, decentralized, and dynamic. Terrorists in one country are now able to inspire, recruit, and radicalize individuals in other countries to commit terrorist acts either where they live, or to travel abroad to become foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs). These same FTFs can then travel home or to a third country to commit further acts of terrorism. Meanwhile, domestic terrorists and home-grown violent extremists continue to constitute threats in their own right, with some adopting techniques used by transnational terrorists or even seeking to affiliate with them. While criminal justice and security methods aimed at imprisoning convicted terrorists will continue to feature uppermost in counterterrorism efforts, there is a growing recognition that a broader approach is needed to address these complex challenges of radicalization and recruitment, one involving a wider range of interventions to address these issues. This more expansive approach is one that can be applied across the full life-cycle of radicalization to violence, from preventing susceptible individuals from being attracted to the ideologies promoted by terrorist groups, to intervening with individuals who are on the path to radicalization to violence, to the rehabilitation and reintegration back into society of some of those already radicalized individuals


Neuchâtel Memorandum on Juvenile Justice

A guide for those who must develop and execute programs and policies regarding the specific circumstances surrounding children who are in the criminal justice system charged with committing acts of terrorism or violent extremism.


Good Practices on Community Engagement and Community-Oriented Policing as tools to Counter Violent Extremism

In its efforts to counter violent extremism, the GCTF has highlighted the importance of multi-sectoral approaches that involve government and non-government agencies, the private sector, religious leaders, and civil society. Specifically, the GCTF emphasized the importance of understanding and addressing community needs as a way to tackle violent extremism.  A critical component of this community level engagement is community-oriented policing, which is collaboration between the police and the community that identifies and solves community problems. 


Plan of Action for Identifying and Countering Recruiters and Facilitators

Action plan that enumerates an illustrative list of actionable, rule-of-law based measures and initiatives that States are currently employing that have indicators of being successful in the effort to identify and counter the activities of terrorist recruiters and facilitators.


Cairo Declaration on Counterterrorism and the Rule of Law: Effective Counterterrorism Practice in the Criminal Justice Sector

States to develop counterterrorism strategies that are consistent with the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and the criminal justice to develop effective institutions and other measures that allow governments to provide security, justice, liberty, and development opportunities for their citizens.


Ankara Memorandum on Good Practices for a Multi-Sectoral Approach to Countering Violent Extremism

This good practices document addresses the role of government institutions, agencies, and civil society in countering violent extremism (CVE). It was produced on the basis of responses by Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) members to the questionnaire that was prepared by the Turkish National Police’s International Center for Terrorism and Transnational Crime (UTSAM) in cooperation with the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This document is also informed by the discussions at GCTF CVE Working Group workshops on multisectoral approaches to CVE held in Antalya and Ankara, Turkey, in December 2012 and March 2013. These workshops in Turkey were organized as a foundational part of the GCTF’s CVE Working Group’s work stream focused on institutions. This document is also complementary to the Good Practices on Community Engagement and Community-Oriented Policing as Tools to Counter Violent Extremism. 

This non-binding document aims to provide GCTF members and other interested stakeholders with a non-exhaustive list of practices that reflect the experience of a number of members in countering violent extremism. 

All states are encouraged to consider using these non-binding, good practices while taking their local needs and conditions into consideration, as they look to develop and implement national CVE policies and/or programs, as part of a wider effort to implement Pillar I of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The implementation of these practices should be consistent with applicable international human-rights law and take into account the varied histories, cultures, and legal systems among States. 

This Ankara Memorandum on Good Practices for a Multi-Sectoral Approach to CVE complements the June 2012 Rome Memorandum good practices on prison disengagement and rehabilitation of violent-extremist offenders. It also directly relates to recent GCTF CVE Working Group workshops on the role of community engagement and community-oriented policing in CVE, which were held in Washington, DC in March 2013, and which led to the development of a separate set of good practices. These good practices are intended to complement those contained in the Ankara Memorandum and the work of the UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force and its relevant entities.


Abu Dhabi Plan of Action for Education and Countering Violent Extremism

A series of expert meetings, workshops, conferences and research hosted by the GCTF, Hedayah and various other partners convened educators, experts, practitioners and policymakers to share experiences and enhance understanding on education and countering violent extremism (CVE). These events also led to the drafting and development of the Abu Dhabi Memorandum for Good Practices on Education and Countering Violent Extremism, which was adopted at the September 2014 GCTF Fifth Ministerial Meeting in New York City. The topic of education and CVE was also a key component of the agenda at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism in February 2015. A preliminary list of recommended action items was developed as part of the Follow-on Action Agenda coming out of the Summit. In addition, the European Union’s Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN), specifically the RAN PREVENT Working Group, has developed a Manifesto titled “Empowering Educators and Schools” aimed at outlining principles for ministries of education investing in CVE efforts within the European context which was endorsed in March 2015 by the Ministers of Education within the European Union. Drawing on these multilateral developments and existing body of knowledge on education and CVE, this non-binding action plan for education and CVE provides an illustrative list for how to advance and implement the good practices already outlined in the Abu Dhabi Memorandum.


The Rabat Memorandum on Good Practices for Effective Counterterrorism Practice in the Criminal Justice Sector

Good practices for addressing terrorism must be built on a functional criminal justice system that is capable of handling ordinary criminal offenses while protecting the human rights of the accused.


Recommendations on the Effective Use of Appropriate Alternative Measures for Terrorism-Related Offenses

A set of non-binding recommendations regarding the range of measures that might be employed at the national or local level as an alternative to pre-trial detention or postconviction incarceration for individuals charged with, or convicted of, terrorism-related offenses.


Recommendations for Using and Protecting Intelligence Information In Rule of Law-Based, Criminal Justice Sector-Led Investigations and Prosecutions

In implementing effective counterterrorism (CT) strategies, many States have recognized the benefits of a collaborative and cooperative relationship between law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Underscoring the critical role that intelligence and sensitive law enforcement information can play in the prevention of terrorism, Good Practice 6 of the GCTF Rabat Memorandum on Good Practices for Effective Counterterrorism Practice in the Criminal Justice Sector (Rabat Memorandum) encourages States to enact rule of law-based measures to protect the sources and collection methods of such information in terrorism cases. Once developed, these legal safeguards may allow investigators and prosecutors to use intelligence and sensitive law enforcement information as evidence, as appropriate, in a manner that both protects the sources and collection methods and maintains the accused person’s right to fair trial as recognized under national and international law, including human rights law.


Addendum to The Hague-Marrakech Memorandum on Good Practices for a More Effective Response to the FTF Phenomenon, with a focus on Returning FTFs

The GCTF’s The Hague-Marrakech Memorandum focuses on the threat of FTFs. States are now increasingly concerned with the potential threat posed by FTFs who return home or travel to a third State. This threat ranges from the involvement in plotting terrorist attacks, to establishing new terrorist cells, or linking up with existing local terrorist networks. RFTFs can also provide operational expertise, raise funds for terrorist activities, be actively involved in recruitment, be vulnerable to (further) radicalization, or be a source of inspiration to others susceptible to terrorist ideologies. In this regard it is important to note that the distinction between “home-grown” and “foreign” terrorist fighters is becoming increasingly blurred. The radicalization life cycle of RFTFs often starts at home. There is also the risk that RFTFs may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Building on the GCTF’s The Hague-Marrakech Memorandum, its Addendum's non-binding recommendations provide additional guidance on how States can address RFTFs.