UNODC and CTED Hold the First Regional Meeting on Building Effective Central Authorities

A regional meeting on building effective international cooperation by central authorities was held in Marrakesh, Morocco, on 22-24 January 2014, within the framework of the joint three-year project of the UNODC Terrorism Prevention Branch (UNODC/TPB) and the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) of the United Nations Security Council on "Building Effective Central Authorities for International Judicial Cooperation in Terrorism Cases".

Cooperation in terrorism-related cases can be challenging and time-consuming for States in an increasingly transnational realm, when key evidence, witnesses, victims or the proceeds from the crime can be located outside the country's jurisdiction and when countries have to resort to cooperation through diplomatic channels. The UNODC/TPB-CTED project aims to help Member States establish one single central authority in charge of processing extradition and requests for mutual legal assistance thereby strengthening their capacity to cooperate and ensuring efficient and time-effective responses.

The event in Marrakesh witnessed UNODC and CTED join forces with the League of Arab States, to bring together experts from 10 countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the United States of America, as well as representatives of the Arab Maghreb Union, the Commonwealth Secretariat, Eurojust, Europol, Ibero-American Network for International Legal Cooperation, INTERPOL and the League of Arab States.

Practitioners discussed common challenges, highlighted best practices and identified areas for further development, agreeing that the establishment of cooperation mechanisms, whether formal or informal, can help to significantly facilitate their need to cooperate with their foreign counterparts in order to bring the perpetrators of terrorist offences to justice.

The main goals of this meeting were to connect practitioners from the MENA region and to provide them with an opportunity to use contacts made in Marrakesh in their work. Such an informal platform will facilitate communication and cooperation on legal criminal matters in the region.

With a strong participants' recommendation to have regular opportunities to meet and discuss, such as the one provided in Marrakesh, CTED and UNODC/TPB will continue their work to support Member States and regional organizations to facilitate international cooperation in the MENA region.

Participants of Regional Meeting on Central Authorities - Marrakesh, Morocco, Jan 2014