Countering Terrorist Financing

Terrorists require financing to recruit and support members, maintain logistics hubs, and conduct operations. Thus, preventing terrorists from accessing financial resources is crucial to successfully counter the threat of terrorism. However, many States lack the legal and operational frameworks and technical expertise needed to detect, investigate and prosecute terrorist financing cases.

The Terrorism Prevention Branch (TPB) of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) works on the legal aspects of countering the financing of terrorism, including promoting the ratification of the relevant universal legal instruments, in particular the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (1999), and the implementation of these international standards. This entails reviews of domestic legislation to ensure proper criminalization of offences related to the financing of terrorism and legislative drafting, developing the capacity of criminal justice and law enforcement officials to investigate, prosecute and adjudicate terrorist financing through the provision of specialized training on issues related to special investigation techniques, freezing, seizing and confiscating terrorist assets, and strengthening regional and international cooperation against the financing of terrorism.

In 2012, the Terrorism Prevention Branch pioneered the development of two innovative training tools in Spanish: a "Mock Criminal Investigation" and a "Mock Trial" on terrorism, terrorist financing and linkages to serious related crimes, providing practitioners with an opportunity to simulate trials and criminal investigations based on real-life scenarios. Subsequently, in 2014 TPB launched the "Case Management Tool", also in Spanish, for the criminal investigation in contexts of financing of terrorism, as a practical and first-hand tool for prosecutors and teams of criminal investigators, according to global and national frameworks for each country. 

Special attention is also devoted to challenges posed by the investigation and prosecution of cases involving the abuse of new technologies for terrorism financing, as also highlighted in the UNODC publication on the " Use of the Internet for Terrorist Purposes".

To ensure an integrated approach to its technical assistance delivery and the pooling of financial resources and expert knowledge, the TPB works in close partnership with UNODC's Global Programme against Money Laundering, Proceeds of Crime and the Financing of Terrorism (GPML).