Since the 1970's, the international community has made increasing efforts to revitalize the role of victims of acts of terrorism in the criminal justice system and to mobilize governmental sectors and civil society in grating specific rights and affording comprehensive support to victims and their families. In the area of assistance to victims of terrorism, there are three main areas: support and assistance to victims of terrorism; the role of victims before, during and after legal proceedings; and the role of victims in countering the appeal of terrorism by providing an important counter-narrative.
In compliance with the mandate conferred to it by General Assembly resolutions 64/168 (2009) and 66/178 (2011) and subsequent relevant resolutions, and in accordance with the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, the Terrorism Prevention Branch (TPB) of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is focusing on the key role that victims of acts of terrorism can play before, during and after criminal legal proceedings, as well as on their needs for assistance and support.
UNODC is working with Member States to strengthen the implementation of national legislation and policies that support and protect victims of acts of terrorism. To maximize the impact of its technical assistance in this area, the UNODC's Terrorism Prevention Branch, in cooperation with the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF), has developed a specialized technical assistance tool entitled The Criminal Justice Response to Support Victims of Acts of Terrorism. The handbook takes stock of national experiences and programmes to support victims of acts of terrorism, addressing relevant international standards and norms as well as national legislation. Available in all United Nations official languages, the handbook has been integrated into capacity building activities of the Terrorism Prevention Branch since its launch in November 2011.
In addition, in 2015, pursuant to the request of the General Assembly in its resolution 66/178, UNODC's Terrorism Prevention Branch produced Good Practices in Supporting Victims of Terrorism within the Criminal Justice Framework . The new tool contains a collection of good practices identified by the expert group meeting convened by TPB in Vienna and November 2015 and provides a specialized resource for policy-makers and law enforcement and criminal justice practitioners seeking to develop and implement law, policies and institutional capacity at a national level for effective support of victims of terrorism within criminal justice investigations and prosecutions related to terrorism. The publication is available in all official languages of the United Nations (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish).