Mock-Trial Workshop Enhances Knowledge of Criminal Justice Practitioners on CFT and ML Legal Framework and Trial Process

26 June 2023, Karachi - The Pakistan Terrorism Prevention Project, implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and funded by the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Office (INL) of the US Embassy in Pakistan, recently organized a unique workshop on Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) Mock-Trial. The workshop, held on June 22-23, 2023, at the esteemed Sindh Judicial Academy in Karachi, aimed to enhance the understanding of criminal justice practitioners from Sindh and Balochistan provinces.

The participants comprised 22 officials, including representatives from the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU), Federal Investigation Agency, Prosecution Department, and Judiciary from both Anti-Terrorism and District Courts of Sindh and Balochistan. This diverse group, which included two female officials, gathered to deepen their knowledge and refine their skills related to the legal framework concerning Countering Financing of Terrorism (CFT) and Money Laundering (ML), along with gaining practical insights into the trial process.

Notably, this workshop built upon the success of similar workshops conducted in the past, which have proven instrumental in equipping criminal justice practitioners with the necessary tools to combat terrorism financing effectively. By engaging in hands-on exercises and focusing on courtroom skills and techniques, the participants had the opportunity to role-play as investigators, prosecutors, and judicial officers in a mock terrorism financing trial. This immersive experience allowed them to better understand the intricacies of the trial process and further hone their legal expertise.

The workshop commenced with an informative session providing an overview of the CFT regime in Pakistan, emphasizing the implementation of FATF recommendations and their immediate impact on countering financing of terrorism. The participants delved into the key provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997, which are relevant to terrorism financing and the proscription regime. They also gained insights into the requirements of evidence necessary for successful convictions and confiscations. Furthermore, the participants were made aware of the National Risk Assessment and the importance of adopting a risk-based approach for enhanced outcomes in countering the financing of terrorism.

During the second session, the workshop delved into the various stages of money laundering, revealing the tactics employed by criminals to facilitate terrorism financing. A comprehensive overview of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) 2010 was provided, highlighting its significance in conducting money laundering investigations and the technical aspects involved in establishing a money trail that connects illicit funds to terrorism financing. The workshop also underscored the susceptibility of different sectors, particularly Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) and Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs), to exploitation in the realm of money laundering and terrorism financing.

On the following day, a representative from the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) delivered an extensive presentation, shedding light on the evolution, mandate, and functions of the FMU. Participants gained valuable insights into the FMU's compliance with United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, the institutional framework in which it operates, the understanding of Targeted Financial Sanctions (TFS) by reporting entities, and the challenges faced by the FMU in fostering domestic and international cooperation and implementing effective measures. Additionally, the presenter provided a thorough explanation of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in place for the analysis of Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) and Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs), as well as the risk screening and analysis of TFS-related STRs.

During the second part of Day 2, the participants were divided into different groups and presented with a complex case scenario. Each group was assigned specific roles related to the case, such as receiving records from relevant authorities, establishing a money trail, recording witness statements, preparing seizure memos, lodging First Information Reports (FIRs), and ultimately, preparing the final report. At the end of the workshop, each group acted as prosecutors, presenting their cases before two esteemed members of the Sindh Judicial Academy who presided over the mock-trial. The judges meticulously examined the presented cases, highlighting any gaps or areas for improvement in the investigation and prosecution of terrorism financing trials.

The workshops concluded with closing remarks from Shahid Shafique, District Judge, who expressed his sincere appreciation for the unwavering efforts of the UNODC in providing invaluable platforms for capacity-building in tackling terrorism financing cases. He also extended his gratitude to the US Embassy's International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Office (INL) for their generous financial support. The events concluded with the distribution of certificates to all the participants, recognizing their active participation and commitment to combating terrorism financing.

As part of its ongoing commitment to strengthening the capabilities of criminal justice practitioners, UNODC aims to continue organizing workshops and training programs on similar subjects in the future, ensuring the continuous development of expertise in countering the financing of terrorism and money laundering.