Adviser on Technical Assistance to the Counter-Terrorism Committee
at the forum on "International Cooperation in the Fight Against
Sofia, Bulgaria, 27 June 2002
I commend the Government of Bulgaria and the Center
for the Study of Democracy for organizing this forum on
"International Cooperation in Countering Terrorism". This is a most
We are all quite familiar with the course of events
leading to the seminal action in the United Nations Security
Council with the adoption of resolution 1373.
The Security Council was strong and unequivocal in
its response to the threat which international terrorism In its
latest form poses to international peace and security. It
authorised, under the self-defence provisions of Article 51 of the
UN Charter, the use of force in pursuing those responsible for the
attacks of 11 September 2001. Most importantly, the Security
Council also recognised that global action was needed to eliminate
the potential of terrorism in the future; to prevent the spread of
terrorist networks and cut off all support for them.
For the most part, Governments were already familiar
with what needed to be done. But few had done it. While drawing on
the language negotiated by all UN members in the 12 international
Conventions against terrorism, Resolution 1373 also delivered a
strong operational message: States should get going on effective
Resolution 1373 imposes binding obligations on all
States to suppress and prevent terrorism. The average level of
government performance against terrorism across the globe must be
raised. This means upgrading the capacity of each nation's
legislation and executive machinery to fight terrorism. Every
government holds a responsibility for ensuring there is no weak
part of the chain: this is a cardinal element of the process 1373
1373 is wide ranging. It covers all aspects of
preventing and suppressing terrorism, from cutting off the funds,
to preventing access to weapons and building judicial
1373 also established the Counter-Terrorism
Committee (known by its acronym: CTC) to monitor the implementation
of the measures imposed.
The Members of the CTC, comprised of the members of
the Security Council, decided to be proactive, transparent,
cooperative and even-handed in this task. It is the only way to
proceed. Bulgaria, a current member of the Security Council, is
also a member of the CTC.
This regional forum adds to the global efforts against terrorism.
It recognizes that we must work together: and everyone has a
contribution to make. In order to be successful, we must build
cooperation, internationally and at the regional level, exchanging
information about terrorism. We must share as widely as possible
expertise and assistance on counter-terrorism. The CTC published a
directory of contact points to promote international cooperation,
listing the contact details of those in UN Missions in New York and
capitals responsible for the implementation of 1373.
Each State is required by the resolution to report
to the CTC on the steps taken to Implement it. The CTC issued
guidance to States on the submission of the reports.
As of 25 June 2002, 161 UN Member States have
submitted their first reports to the CTC. This engagement of Member
States is unprecedented for a UN operation.
Those Member States who have not submitted a report
are almost without exception those with little experience of the
subject and with unsophisticated law-and-order systems.
Since January 2002, the CTC has been reviewing the
In response to each report, the CTC is writing, in
confidence, to the Government concerned offering its comments, and
seeking more information, or specific clarification. The comments
also begin to probe areas where implementation might not be full
enough. The Government concerned may look at the comments and
realise that they cannot supply an example of legislation in a
given area because it does not exist. New legislation Is needed. Or
its executive institutions need to react more effectively.
States are given three months to respond to the CTC
with a further report.
The CTC has now embarked on its review of the second round of
reports, which began to arrive. So far, 22 States have filed their
second reports in response to the CTC's letters. The CTC intends to
be more direct in this second phase in identifying potential gaps
and asking States what action they intend to take to address the
issues of concern. The Committee may outline areas in which the
Committee believes that legislation or further executive measures
are needed to upgrade the State's capacity against terrorism in
line with 1373. For example, the CTC may say to a State that it
must have regulations on alternative remittance systems (such as
the Hawala system), that the State has not yet indicated to the CTC
that such regulations are in place, and could the State concerned
please tell the CTC what action it has taken or intends to take to
address this concern.
The Committee will also make recommendations on assistance, and I
will say more about that in a minute. There is a role for regional
organisations, and I will come back to that also.
1373 is open-ended, and the threats posed by various
forms of terrorism will evolve. But we hope to reach the point with
increasing numbers of States that we have no comments, for now, on
what they have done. Of course, even when we get to that point,
there will be ways in which the State can improve - for example on
regional cooperation, or exchange of Information. But the CTC needs
to be focused on the number one priority - the real gaps in global
capacity. And that Is why we will spend less time with States who
are at the front end of implementation of 1373. But exchanges with
the majority of member states will stretch out into the future.
One of the stated purposes of this forum is to identify the main
areas in South-Eastern Europe (SEE) countries for which support
from the CTC is needed. As I said earlier, to be successful in what
we are trying to do, the CTC must promote sharing of expertise and
assistance on counter-terrorism. Governments share a common goal,
but differ In their preparedness to act. Many States have no
experience of terrorism. But they are beginning to recognise that
terrorism will migrate, and that a vacuum in the capacity to combat
terrorism is dangerous. They are therefore trying to Improve,
starting from a lower basic capacity than a country, which has been
tackling terrorism for many years. They will look to those with
expertise to help.
The coordination of effort between organisations and
States with expertise is key to ensuring that global anti-terrorist
capacity is raised effectively and quickly. Targeting is necessary
and duplication must be avoided.
The CTC has therefore set up a Directory of
Assistance, and has Invited all States and organisations in a
position to offer assistance and expertise to contribute to it.
Designed as a one-stop-shop for States looking for help, it will
contain copies of legislation and information about executive
practices, and also include details of training and assistance
programmes. CTC experts will use the Directory of Assistance as a
resource in trying to connect States with a need with someone who
can help. It should also enable those looking to offer assistance
to see what is already available and where they could add value. It
is in all our interests that those with the capacity to do so help
those who need it.
Regional and sub-regional organizations
States have an individual interest in upgrading their own capacity
to ensure terrorists cannot operate on or from their territory. But
States also have a collective interest with their neighbours to
ensure that the region is not abused by terrorists.
Regional and sub-regional organisations have a key role to play in
ensuring that action is taken across the region. They may also have
a role in coordinating assistance on a regional level if the needs
of their Members have similar characteristics.
The level of compliance in each region may vary from
country to country and the process in some countries may be more
advanced than in others. The capacity to fully implement resolution
1373 also varies from region to region. Some regions have developed
action plans for implementation of 1373 to ensure that all
countries In their region reach minimum acceptable levels of
compliance in combating terrorism. Regional and sub-regional
organizations are important vehicles through which action can be
taken. The States comprising the South-Eastern Europe region are
well placed to facilitate assessment of compliance with 1373 within
the region. The regional group can be an important vehicle for
programmes of assistance to raise the level of compliance across
the region. The CTC will be looking at ways to facilitate
assistance for capacity building programmes within regional
Let me say a word about human rights. In taking a consensual
approach, the CTC is not ducking its responsibilities. Our job is
to work with Member States, to clarify how best they can meet the
obligations that rest on their shoulders. But the CTC's processes
will put pressure on governments to ensure, in the decisions they
take both political and administrative, that they do not condone
acts of indiscriminate violence against civilians, in any political
context, nor use counter-terrorism as a pretext for political
oppression. We have to develop an international collective
conscience in this respect in which every government, without
exception, is a participant.
The CTC is mandated to monitor the implementation of
1373. Monitoring performance against other international
conventions, including human rights law, is outside the scope of
the CTC's mandate. But as we go forward, the CTC will remain aware
of the interaction of its work with human rights concerns, inter
alia through the contact the CTC has developed with the OHCHR.
The CTC is also operating transparently and openly
so that NGOs with concerns can bring them to our attention or
follow up within the established human rights machinery.
Having said what the CTC is, and what its aims are,
let me also set out what the CTC is not. It is not a tribunal for
judging States. It will not trespass onto areas of competence of
other parts of the UN system. It is not going to define terrorism
in a legal sense, although we will have a fair idea of what is
blatant terrorism: where necessary, CTC members will decide by
consensus whether an act is terrorism. It has no plans to issue
lists of terrorist organisations. If members cannot settle issues
of political controversy, the CTC will submit them back to the
Council. In reality, areas of sharp political dispute will need to
be addressed in their own specific contexts and mechanisms.
If the CTC meets difficulties within its own direct
area of responsibility, there is agreement in principle among
Security Council members that they will, if necessary, consider
what action is needed to address failures to meet the requirements
of 1373 where these affect the comprehensive implementation of that
One last point I would like to add. The CTC's
approach to Counter-Terrorism may have lessons for the collective
fight against internationally organised crime more widely. As
freedom spreads, so do the opportunities for evading the law and
developing illegal networks. I am convinced that making a success
of the CTC's programme will have important spin-offs for the rule
of law more broadly.