Workshop on SHERLOC (Sharing electronic resources and laws on crime) and Mutual legal assistance in Terrorism Cases

24 February 2020, Islamabad. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), under Pakistan's Action to Counter Terrorism (PACT) framework and in partnership with the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) as well as Counter Terrorism Division of Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), organised a two-days long workshop on SHERLOC (Sharing Electronic Resources and Laws on Crime) and Mutual Legal Assistance request in terrorism cases, from 20- 21 February 2020, in Islamabad.

The objective of the workshop was to introduce participants to SHERLOC and altogether twenty-six participants, including three female officials from department of prosecution, attended the workshop. This workshop drew on both participants' and lecturers' expertise on Pakistan's legal and policy frameworks for preventing and combating terrorism and various forms of organized crime to improve the SHERLOC knowledge management portal's resources from Pakistan.

The workshop commenced with a presentation on the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (Organized Crime Convention) and linkages between organized crime and terrorism by Ms. Riikka Puttonen, Programme Manager- Organized Crime Branch, UNODC. The presentation used a case study on the 'Lord of War', Victor Bout, from UNODC's Education for Justice (E4J) University Modules to explore the interrelationship between organized crime, arms trafficking and terrorism. Additionally, nineteen international legal instruments against terrorism were presented and discussed at this session.

During the remaining sessions of the first day of the workshop, Mr. Dmitry Orlov, Terrorism Prevention Branch UNODC, gave a presentation on Abu Sayyaf Group a case study demonstrating convergence between criminal and terrorist activities. This presentation also provided an introduction to the theoretical framework of the crime-terror continuum that can be used to analyse a variety of scenarios of interplay between organised crime and terrorism.

This session as followed by a detailed discussion on two case studies titled 'the investigations and takedowns of AlphaBay and Hansa Market' that explored illicit dark web market places as well as the relationship between the dark web and terrorism. The presentation covered the application and relevance of the Organized Crime Convention to the two investigations, as well as the relationship between the dark web and terrorism. The presenters also demonstrated the application of SHERLOC knowledge management portal and use of SHERLOC's databases of legislation, case law, national strategies, treaties and bibliographic information concerning organized crime and terrorism. 

The second day of workshop opened with a detailed presentation delivered by Mr. Shahid Shafique, Judge from Sindh Judicial Academy. Mr. Shahid discussed two anti-terrorism cases, from the district courts of Pakistan, that he headed in his capacity as a judge. He identified the necessary requirements in adjudicating a terrorism case and narrated the timeline of the cases. He also placed emphasis on the kind of evidences collected, and highlighted several good practices in prosecuting and adjudicating cases concerning crime-terrorism linkages. He further emphasises on the need for increased coordination between all actors within the judicial system in order to ensure that due process is followed.

The central event of the second day of the workshop was a comprehensive exercise on writing mutual legal assistance (MLA) requests to foreign jurisdictions. During the exercise, participants were trained in two UNODC international cooperation and MLA tools, the MLA Request Writer Tool and the Directory of Competent and Central National Authorities (CNA Directory), hosted on SHERLOC. Based upon a fictional scenario, participants prepared and presented MLA requests to three jurisdictions concerning different aspects of the fictional investigation. The exercise was then followed by a presentation from Mr. Shahzad Cheema, Joint Secretary Law from Ministry of Interior, who discussed Mutual Legal Assistance (Criminal Matters) Bill at length. Participants also actively participated in a group exercise whereby they reviewed the legislation and national strategies of Pakistan uploaded on SHERLOC.

The workshop concluded with closing remarks delivered by Mr. Mohammad Babakhel, Director General Research and Development from NACTA and Mr. Francois Zablot from the European Union, who lauded PACT team's initiative in deliberating on SHERLOC to members of judiciary and prosecution departments of Pakistan. They both also appreciated the active participation of experts including law enforcement officials, prosecutors and Judges from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Islamabad.