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Presentation by Ambassador Curtis A. Ward
 

 


Adviser on Technical Assistance to the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC)
at the forum on "International Cooperation in the Fight Against Terrorism"
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 timely Initiative.

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 measures now.

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 has instituted.

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 cooperation.

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 reports submitted.

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.

Next Steps
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.

Assistance
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 organizations.

Human Rights
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 Security

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 resolution.

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.

 

 
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