Series of Trainings on Police-Prosecution in Terrorism Financing Cases

Nov 2019, Islamabad & Karachi. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the European Union (EU) remain committed to the mandate of enhancing cooperation between police and prosecution in Pakistan. Against this backdrop, and with reference to the Pakistan's Action to Counter Terrorism (PACT) project, UNODC conducted a series of trainings entitled 'Police-Prosecution Cooperation in Terrorism Financing Cases' in November 2019 in Islamabad and Karachi, with the financial and technical support of the EU and NACTA. Altogether 66 participants from Departments of Prosecution, Police, and CTD across all provinces of the country attended the training.

The main objective of this training was to develop a viable and sustainable coordination mechanism between the police and prosecution departments for successful conclusion of Terrorism Financing (TF) Cases in Pakistan. The agenda for training sessions was devised to sensitize and develop an incremental improvement in knowledge of laws and procedures, and included theoretical as well as practical aspects of investigation and prosecution domains in the local and country context.

The training emphasized the importance of the common law system, and the prevalent challenges that hinder cooperation between police and prosecution. Key areas discussed included: the roles of police and prosecution throughout the 'Investigation, Trial, and Post Trial Stage' of a case; the 'types of cooperation' required by each stakeholder; and the significance of 'gatekeeping' as primary point of collaboration for both prosecutors and police. Presentations on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and its role, and the impact of FATF application to Pakistan, were also given. Participants were introduced to the roles and features of UNSC Resolutions 1373 and 1267 in TF cases: whereby the former is utilized for domestic proscription and the latter for proscribing Al-Qaeda and the Taliban specifically. UNSC 1267 is mandated likewise for freezing assets, banning travel, and issuing arms embargos.

Throughout the training the focus remained on the roles of police and prosecutors after the commencement of investigations; and the distinctions between the responsibilities of the police and prosecutors where, as in the formulation of crime reports and FIRs, and the acts of arrest and detention, responsibility rested primarily with the police. Subjects viz. the National Framework for CFT; National Risk Assessment; Provisions of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 Related to TF Investigation; Collection of Evidence; Role of Prosecutors; Mandate of Judiciary; and Extra Powers Allocated to Investigators were discussed in detail.

The sessions remained open for sharing of personal experiences between participants in the context of terrorism financing. The training also focussed on the difference between Countering Terrorist Financing (CTF) and identifying sources of terrorist financing. In continuation of this topic, the training featured a special lecture on 'Use of Technology in Investigating Terrorism Cases'. The use and advantage of IBM i2 ANB as a significant emerging tool in terrorism investigation cases for the purpose of analysis, verification, and surveillance to track transactional activities and records of suspected citizens, was discussed.

The last tranche of training centered on analyzing a case study of terrorism financing. The trainer described in detail how evidence was collected in the case, thus leading to the arrest of the culprits who were also found to be involved in other kidnapping for ransom cases. He used an illustration to explain the timeline of the case; and to describe how statements of vendors, officials, and extorted persons were recorded during the case. As a part of the activity session a TF Manual, along with a checklist of necessary actions to be taken during TF investigations, was shared with the participants. Later the participants were divided into two groups and asked to prepare and prosecute a case.

In the end, the participants thanked the UNODC, NACTA, and the European Union for making these training sessions possible through their technical and financial expertise and assistance; and further acknowledged that each session had been was extremely informative in providing both which added specialized substantial knowledge and hands-on gave them exposure. The training concluded with certificate distribution to amongst the participants, and closing remarks from NACTA.