UNODC Supports Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism
During, and in the Aftermath of, Pandemics and Disasters

 

The COVID-19 pandemic, and global responses to it, have had an unprecedented impact on criminal justice systems and caused serious interruptions to the processing of criminal cases around the world, including terrorism cases.           

Despite these inevitable disruptions, it is imperative to continue to support criminal justice institutions to perform their critical functions during these crises. This can be done while also ensuring the safety of all parties engaged in the proceedings, respecting the rule of law, and protecting fundamental human rights, including the right to a fair and expeditious trial.      

To achieve this goal and overcome challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, many criminal justice institutions embraced the use of technological tools to facilitate remote access to criminal proceedings.   

To support Member States in their efforts to adopt such measures, UNODC, in partnership with the International Institute of Justice and Rule of Law (IIJ), conducted a side event during the 2020 OSCE-wide Counter Terrorism Conference on “partnerships in strengthening the use of technology in criminal justice responses to terrorism during and in the aftermath of pandemics and disasters.”

The event gathered national and international experts in addition to 56 representatives of national authorities and international organizations. During the event, the participants discussed good practices and challenges regarding the use of technology for accessing criminal proceedings in remote terrorism cases to enable criminal justice institutions to work safely during the pandemic. Speakers also addressed the legal and technical requirements needed to adopt such techniques in an efficient manner while ensuring the rights of defendants to a fair trial.

 The event was the second successful partnership between UNODC and IIJ on this important topic following the online Expert Group Meeting that was convened earlier this year in July 2020.   

UNODC will continue to promote awareness and deliver technical assistance to Member States to ensure the continuity of critical counter-terrorism work by criminal justice institutions while coping with a pandemic and other serious challenges.