UNODC Promotes Good Practices for the Prosecution and Adjudication of Terrorism Offenses in Central Asia

Prosecution authorities and judiciaries of Central Asian countries are faced with a number of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) who have travelled from the region to Syria and Iraq and have returned or may seek to return home. This phenomenon raises unique challenges in terms of developing an effective, appropriate and coordinated prosecutorial and judicial response. Good practices in such and other terrorism related cases, were the focus of a regional workshop held in Tashkent from 20-22 November 2018.

The event was organized by the General Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime's (UNODC) as part of the UNODC Program for Central Asia and the regional project "Support to Regional Approaches on Prosecution, Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Returnees" funded by the Governments of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Kingdom of Sweden.

"Strengthening measures to prevent and address violent extremism and terrorism and other forms of organized crime are key priorities for peace and sustainable development of Uzbekistan and the other countries in the region, " said Mr. Erkin Yuldashev, Deputy General Prosecutor of Uzbekistan. "Increased understanding of good practices for the collection, preservation, and presentation of evidence acquired from intelligence sources and enhanced expertise of our prosecutors and judges to investigate, prosecute and adjudicate terrorism related cases contributes to achieving this goal".

For three days, some 60 senior staff from law enforcement, security, prosecutorial and judicial bodies dealing with terrorism cases, legal practitioners, regional and international experts, as well as representatives of regional and international organizations and embassies, shared best practices on the management of cases involving terrorism offenses.

"Adherence to procedural guarantees, including the right of the accused to a fair trial with adequate legal representation, is a core part of any criminal justice response to violent extremism and terrorism", noted Mr. Koen Marquering, Acting Head of the UNODC Program Office in the Kyrgyz Republic. "Gender considerations, such as in the case of returnee women who accompanied their partners to Syria or Iraq, and measures to enable victim and witness participation in the criminal process, with due regard for their protection and security, are also key".

In response to the threats posed by returnees, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on 21 December 2017 adopted resolution 2396, under Chapter VII, calling on Member States to take appropriate action against returnees and accompanying family members, including considering appropriate prosecution, rehabilitation, and reintegration measures, in accordance with domestic and international law.  The rights of witnesses and victims in the criminal justice system have also been addressed by the third ( A/Res/66/282) and fourth ( A/Res/68/276) review resolutions of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

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