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Seminar on Strengthening Rule of Law - Compliant Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorisms, Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan

International counter-terrorism legal framework


This 2-day seminar, organized by the TNTD Action against Terrorism Unit of the OSCE Secretariat, will focus on several areas of criminal justice responses to terrorism, such as criminalization preparatory acts of terrorism, including terrorist financing, protection of participants of law enforcement investigations and judicial proceedings, issue of pre-trial detention of suspects, punishment, incarceration and reintegration of convicts, as well as the issues related to the legal framework for electronic surveillance and undercover investigations.


The seminar will cover the following topics described under respective sessions below:

Session 1: Criminalize Conspiracies, Solicitation and other Preparatory Acts of Terrorism (Rabat Good Practice 13) as well as Terrorist Financing (Rabat Good Practice 15).

Criminalizing preparatory acts, such as conspiracy, terrorist fundraising, terrorist recruitment, planning and training, particularly when a terrorist attack has not yet been carried out, is vital in an effective criminal justice preventive approach to counterterrorism. This way, authorities can focus their attention on proactive intervention when terrorist suspects are at the planning and preparation stages. In the criminalization and prosecution of these acts, countries should pay full respect to the rights of individuals to freedom of expression, freedom of religion or belief, and freedom of association.

Preventing terrorists and terrorist organizations from funding their activities is an essential component of any successful counterterrorism strategy and a binding requirement under several UN Security Council resolutions. For this purpose, laws that criminalize the financing of terrorism in accordance with the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism should be enacted and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations implemented. Proper mechanisms allowing for the freezing, seizing, and confiscation of terrorist assets and funds used or allocated for the purpose of terrorist financing, should also be enacted in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and subject to appropriate review.

Session 2: Protect Victims, Witnesses, Informants, Undercover Agents, Juries, Investigators, Prosecutors, Defense Counsel, and Judges in Counterterrorism Cases (Rabat Good Practice 1)

Victims, witnesses, informants, undercover agents, and investigators all play an essential role in the investigation of, and in judicial proceedings involving, acts of terrorism. Their ability to participate in law enforcement investigations and/or judicial proceedings without fear of intimidation or reprisal is essential to maintaining the rule of law. Legal procedures and practical measures should be in place to protect them as well as certain immediate family members.

Session 3: Provide for the Lawful Exercise of Pre-trial Detention of Terrorist Suspects (Rabat Good Practice 7)

Judicially approved and supervised pre-trial detention of terrorist suspects forms part of an effective criminal justice counter-terrorism framework. Such detention ensures a suspect’s presence at trial, prevents any tampering with the evidence and protects society from dangers posed by the detained individual. While its legal basis, procedures for review and its permissible duration vary among different countries to some degree, pre-trial detention must be limited to cases in which the necessity for detention has been established, be fairly administered consistent with international standards, and not prejudice the presumption of innocence and the procedural rights of the suspect.

Session 4: Ensure that Convicted Terrorists are Appropriately Punished and Develop Policies for their Incarceration and Reintegration (Rabat Good Practice 11)

An effective system for incarcerating convicted terrorists is a critical part of an effective criminal justice response to terrorism. Such a system should ensure appropriate punishment so as to deter terrorist activity, prevent further radicalization of prisoners, prevent terrorist activities from being directed or supported from within the prison system, and provide for the de-radicalization and reintegration of prisoners into society where possible, and thereby reduce recidivism.

Session 5: Provide a Legal Framework and Practical Measures for Electronic Surveillance (Rabat Good Practice 4) and for Undercover Counterterrorism Investigations (Rabat Good Practice 3)

The clandestine and complex nature of terrorism requires specialized investigative methods and techniques.

Lawfully approved forms of electronic surveillance such as wiretapping, tracking devices, and the monitoring of the Internet and other electronic communications have proven to be effective tools to combat terrorist activities. Evidence derived from electronic surveillance should, as provided for in relevant national laws, generally be obtained in a form that will be legally admissible in court, and the methods should be compliant with relevant human rights obligations.

Undercover operations are a very effective tool for discovering and disrupting terrorist plots before they materialize. While this session will focus on the practical possibilities offered by such operations, it is important to note that undercover operations should be carried out in accordance with applicable national and international law. It is also important that such operations are closely supervised to ensure that targets are identified based on evidence of terrorist activity, that operations are carried out within human rights boundaries, and that they do not amount to entrapment.

Session 6: Professional Development of Investigators, Prosecutors, and Judges Who Handle Terrorism Cases. (Rabat Good Practice 8)

Prosecution and investigative services should receive the specialized training they need to perform critical counterterrorism functions within the criminal justice system. In particular, they should be able to handle the complex legal, forensic, technological, and financial aspects of counterterrorism investigations and prosecutions. A competent and impartial judiciary attuned to the complexity and importance of terrorism cases, including human rights aspects, is also critical to an effective criminal justice approach to counterterrorism within a rule of law framework.


Added on
31 Jul 2018
OSCE Secretariat / Transnational Threats Department / Action against Terrorism Unit
Venue description

Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan

OSCE Secretariat / Transnational Threats Department / Action against Terrorism Unit
Prosecutors, Judges
detention, surveillance, prosecution