IIJ Prosecutor Outline

Aug 06 2019
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The Mediterranean region, and its immediate southern neighbourhood, has witnessed major terrorist activities over the last few decades. This is compounded by the protracted conflicts around the southern and eastern Mediterranean and the resulting rise in the number of trained terrorist fighters returning from conflict zones. As a result, countries in the Sahel and the Maghreb are directly exposed to risks emanating from the north and vice-versa. In this sense, the movement of ideology as well as human and material resources related to terrorism is very much a two-way street and the theatre of concern should be thought of as a continuum stretching from the Sahel, through MENA and onto East Africa. Those developments present threats not only to countries in those regions, but also to countries in Europe.

The increase in cross-border terrorist threats, compounded by the foreign terrorist fighter (FTF) phenomenon, returning foreign terrorist fighters (RFTF),  and  homegrown  terrorists,  presents  numerous difficulties to national criminal justice systems. Prosecution authorities in the southern Mediterranean countries are handling heavy caseloads and such challenges as unreliable eye-witness evidence, courtroom and witness security, the need for evidence obtained outside the jurisdiction, using intelligence in court, interagency cooperation, and too little forensic evidence. Prosecutors and investigating magistrates are also being exposed to more complex transnational cases requiring detailed knowledge of international legal principles and mechanisms.

In response to these challenges, and under the auspices of the IIJ Judicial Capacity-Building Initiative, the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ) – with support from the European Union (EU) – launched a Capacity-Building Program for Prosecutors in the Southern Mediterranean, the results of which are captured in this new publication.

The IIJ Prosecutor Outline is a practical tool designed to help build the capacity of criminal justice officials to effectively prosecute and investigate terrorism cases in southern Mediterranean countries and their immediate neighbourhood (Sahel and Horn of Africa) in line with international human rights standards, good practices and the  rule  of  law. The IIJ Prosecutor Outline emphasises several responsibilities prosecutors, investigating magistrates, and law enforcement agents should undertake in helping to ensure that the criminal justice system works effectively in combatting international and domestic terrorism in accordance with international rule of law and human  rights  standards. These responsibilities include:

1. ensuring that an effective investigation is conducted of the terrorist attack, or of those who  intend  to  commit  a  terrorist  act  in  the  future; 
2. selecting  the  appropriate  charges  to  bring against a terrorism suspect;
3. bringing before the court an accused terrorist who  is  not  present  in  the jurisdiction in which the charges were filed; and
4. promoting the right to a fair trial for individuals suspected of or charged with commission of a terrorism or terrorism-related offence.

The IIJ Prosecutor Outline supports implementation of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) Rabat Memorandum on Good Practices for Effective Counterterrorism Practice in the Criminal Justice Sector, which was endorsed by GCTF Ministers in Turkey in June 2012. The Outline emphasises the importance of, elaborates on, and supports implementation of the Rabat Memorandum Good Practices, along with other policies, materials and tools developed by the United Nations, Council of Europe, African Union, and other regional and international partners.

The IIJ Prosecutor Outline is currently available in English, with translations in Arabic and French forthcoming.