South Asia: Strengthening international cooperation in criminal matters, particularly terrorist cases

From 12 to 14 December 2011, the UNODC Regional Office for South Asia organised a regional workshop on 'Strengthening International Cooperation in Criminal Matters, particularly Terrorist Cases' in New Delhi, India. This was the very first time that the Office organised such an activity in the area of terrorism prevention, one of UNODC's many mandated areas of work within the overall mandates relating to drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism and the respective UN and international instruments that govern UNODC. UNODC's assistance focuses on  the legal and related aspects of counter-terrorism, especially assisting Governments in ratifying and implementing the international legal instruments against terrorism and strengthening the capacity of the national criminal justice systems to apply the provisions of these instruments in compliance with the principles of rule of law.

The workshop was inaugurated by Ms Cristina Albertin, Representative, UNODC South Asia, who delivered the opening remarks, followed by the welcome address by Mr Gunnar Denecke, Head of the Political Section Minister Counsellor from the Embassy of Germany, in representation of the donor. Mr S C Sinha, Director General of the National Investigation Agency, Government of India gave the key note address in which he talked about the many manifestations of terrorism and their impact on the lives of citizens, the links between terrorism and other forms of organised crime such as drug trafficking and money laundering and highlighted the need for convergence by all stakeholders to address terrorism in an effective manner.

The workshop brought together law enforcement and criminal justice officers from the countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, with the aim of improving knowledge and implementation of international legal instruments against terrorism, particularly on international cooperation aspects. Two experts from UNODC's Terrorism Prevention Branch in Vienna conducted the workshop, apprising  the participants of the global legal frameworks against terrorism and mechanisms of international cooperation in criminal matters as well as the technical assistance tools developed by UNODC in this regard.

Each  country delegation made a presentation on its respective national legal framework and on the practical challenges faced when using international cooperation mechanisms, such as extradition requests and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. Experts from Australia, India, Mauritius and Interpol participated as resource persons sharing some of their experiences and best practices. Participants were also given a concrete case of a terrorist attack, which they had to analyze with regard to necessary steps that could be taken in line with their legal framework to bring the perpetrator to justice. The workshop concluded with the recommendations to provide specific legislative assistance in some of the countries to update the relevant legislation, to conduct additional workshops related to the proceeds of crime and  their investigation, the use of internet in commissioning crimes and the need to expedite requests and create platforms for exchange of information in a timely manner.

This workshop was possible thanks to a contribution from the German Government.

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