UNODC Enhances Capacities of Member States in South-Eastern Europe to Investigate, Prosecute and Adjudicate Nuclear and Radiological Crimes

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Vienna, 22 March 2023 - The International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT) is a key instrument that UNODC is mandated to promote, offering essential tools for preventing and suppressing terrorist and other criminal conduct involving nuclear or other radioactive material, thus improving nuclear security worldwide.

The risk of the use of nuclear or other radioactive material by non-State actors for terrorist or other criminal purposes presents a serious threat to international peace and security. The transnational nature of nuclear and radiological crimes, the consequences of which might likely transcend national borders, requires a joint and coordinated response from the international community and Member States. In this regard, States’ adherence to, and effective implementation of, relevant international legal instruments is critical.

In this context and to further support Member States’ efforts in strengthening the capacities of their criminal justice systems, UNODC held a regional workshop on the effective implementation of ICSANT for South-Eastern European countries on 21-22 March 2023.

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The event, which was held in Vienna, took place within the framework of the project “Union support to promote universalization and effective implementation of the ICSANT”, funded by the European Union. It was opened by H.E. Ambassador Stephan Klement, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the International Organizations in Vienna, and Mr. Masood Karimipour, Chief of UNODC Terrorism Prevention Branch, who highlighted the importance of adhering to, and effectively implementing ICSANT in the region.

The workshop gathered more than 20 participants from a number of criminal justice institutions in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia, and aimed at enhancing their capacity to investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate crimes involving nuclear or other radioactive material, which fall under the scope of application of ICSANT. The workshop included sessions focusing – inter alia - on radiological crime scene management, nuclear forensics, evidence preservation and admissibility, and inter-agency coordination. It also showcased the benefits of ICSANT in facilitating international cooperation in cases related to radiological or nuclear terrorism, including exchange of information, prosecution, and extradition.

During the two-day workshop, UNODC experts, together with representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), INTERPOL, the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), and national institutions of the Netherlands and Romania, demonstrated ICSANT’s relevance to preventing and combatting criminal acts involving nuclear or other radioactive material, and discussed the challenges associated with investigation and criminal proceedings related to these acts.