Doha/Vienna, 14 April 2015 - The links between terrorists and criminals have strengthened over the last decade, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Yury Fedotov said today at a high-level special event on terrorism financing.
Speaking during the event on the sidelines of the 13th Crime Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Mr. Fedotov said: "…we have witnessed the strengthening and increased sophistication of links between transnational organized criminal networks and terrorists in many regions of the world".
He noted that the gravity of this worrying nexus had been recognized by the UN Security Council, in its recent resolutions 2195 and 2199. The two resolutions highlighted the importance of redoubling efforts to prevent terrorists from benefiting from transnational organized crime.
"Going after the terrorist 'business model' and disrupting financial flows remains a major challenge, one that requires a comprehensive, integrated approach that reaches out to all sectors and actors involved, private and public, and leaves no gaps for the terrorists and criminals to exploit."
Mr. Fedotov said that criminals were the weak link due to the likelihood they would be detected. Regarding terrorism financing, groups, he said, often funneled money via countries with poor counter-financing laws and expertise.
International cooperation was essential in these areas as was ratifying and implementing the Conventions against transnational organized crime and corruption. Mr. Fedotov said UNODC's Global Programme against Money Laundering, Proceeds of Crime and the Financing of Terrorism also had an important role in global efforts to counter the terrorists.
To support Member States, he said, the UN had created a working group chaired by UNODC on countering the financing of terrorism, as part of the Counterterrorism Implementation Task Force. He also said that UNODC was pushing ahead with promoting the ratification and full implementation of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.
Mr. Fedotov concluded his remarks by saying that the nexus between terrorists and criminals was "an evolving threat, with ever-changing modi operandi. We need to be swift, innovative and ready to learn."
The high- level event was chaired by the head of the Terrorism Prevention Branch, Trevor Rajah. Speakers included the Minister of Justice of Lebanon, Ashraf Rifi; the Acting Minister of Justice of Afghanistan, Said Yusuf Halem; the Deputy Minister of Interior of Iraq, Aqeel Kareem Khazel; and the Executive Director, United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate Jean-Paul Laborde.
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