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IAP CTPN addresses the UN Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee on challenges to secure digital evidence


The IAPs Counter-terrorism Prosecutors Network (CTPN) took part in the Counter-Terrorirsm Committee Special Meeting on ”Preventing the Exploitation of Information and Commiunications Technologies for Terrorist purposes, while Respecting Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms” at the United Nations Headquarters, Nov 31 and Dec 1, 2016.

It was a meeting in which the voice of the prosecutor got due attention to communicate to the Secutiry Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee, the challenges and possible solutions in working across borders and with global and regional communication service providers to secure digital evidence and to enforce laws against terrorism and violent extremism.

General Counsel Rasmus Wandall, representing the IAP, moderated the technical session on judicial cooperation, in which Thomas Burrows, United States Department of Justice, Criminal Division, The Office of International Affairs (OIA), Mauro Miedico, Chief, Implementation Support Section III, Terrorism Prevention Branch, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Mr. Jan Kleijssen, Director, Council of Europe and David Simon, partner at Mayor Brown, addressed the issues each from their unique perspectices. On the second days’s Counter-Terrorism Committee meeting, President of Eurojust, Michèle Coninsx, addressed the committee on these particular challenges from the point of view of the experiences of Eurojust.

There is nothing new about collaboration across borders or that it is regulated. But in two specific ways, recent developments in digital matters present a new and significant challenge. First, the explosion in digital matters has increased the demand for volume and speed in our abilities to carry out cross border collaboration. Second, unlike before, it is today increasingly necessary to reach out to non-state communication providers to preserve and collect evidence. The role of information and communication service providers has become essential. To a far extent, it is responses to these developments that are needed from the international community.

The sessions was an important opportunity for the IAP to communicate both principled and practical challenges for invesigation and prosecution agencies in the face of this development and an opportunity to take part in the discussion of what kind of legal and practical tools are warrented from the international community to facilitate a more effective response to the threat posed by terrorism and violent extremism. 

Most importantly, this was an opportunity to present the concept for an effective global framework to carry out mutual legal assistance in Counter-terrorism cases, to the state parties presented at the meeting. In a partnership with the UN CTED and the UNODC, the IAPs Counter-terrorism Prosecutors Network (CTPN), put forward a proposal for a project to significantly increase the capacity of prosecutors and to secure a vital improvement of practical tools for investigators and prosecutors to prepare and carry out mututal legal assistance work in counter-terrorism and other related areas of crime. The three partners presented the proposed project to state parties on December 1st, 2016 and are now following up with the significant and broad interest.

Further information is available from IAP General Counsel, Rasmus H. Wandall (gc@iap-association.org).