Maldives: UNODC Empowers Judges with Specialized Maritime Counter-Terrorism Training

Male, Maldives/06 September 2023: In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of the judiciary in counter-terrorism efforts. This is reflected in the development of new international and national legal frameworks to combat terrorism. Trained judges are critical to countering terrorism because they play a key role in upholding the rule of law and ensuring that justice is served. Judges must be able to understand the complex legal issues involved and apply the law fairly and impartially. They must also be able to balance the need to protect public safety with the rights of the accused.

In this context, UNODC conducted a three-day judicial training on maritime counter-terrorism for 15 judges from courts in Male and magistrate courts from other islands, under the framework of the European Union-funded project, "Support to Addressing the Risk of Terrorism and to Increasing Security in the Maldives".

The training provided participants with fundamental skills and knowledge on the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) pertaining to maritime terrorism cases. It also enhanced participants' familiarization of maritime terminology and vessel boarding procedures performed by law enforcement agencies while at sea, enabling them to better identify the challenges during maritime interdictions.

Participants also learnt about the benefits of mutual legal assistance requests and extradition in maritime terrorism cases. At the end of the course, judges showcased an improved understanding in the assessment and evaluation of evidence and unique challenges related to terrorism cases at sea.

The course was well-received by the participants, who actively engaged throughout all sessions and contributed to the discussion by sharing their own insights and experience. The training took a pragmatic approach, combining plenary and group work with case studies and analysis. It also featured the intervention from a representative of TikTok, who explained ways the organization cooperates with law enforcement authorities.

Reference material for the preparation and delivery of the course included UNODC's Practical Guide for Requesting Electronic Evidence across Borders.

This training followed the delivery of a similar event for prosecutors in Maldives in August 2023. In line with the overall project's objective, both courses sought to improve the capacities of selected government agencies and ensure they acquire or maintain sound knowledge of international maritime law and best practices to ensure legal finish.

This activity contributed to SDG 16 and SDG 17:

(Funded by European Union)