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Past event

The Use of Military Evidence in Counter-Terrorism


Date: 29 August 2014, 15:00 - 17:00, followed by a drinks reception

Venue: T.M.C. Asser Instituut, R.J. Schimmelpennincklaan 20-22, The Hague

Meeting report is available here.

The past years have shown a clear shift in counter-terrorism operations: rather than a “capture or kill” attitude, counter-terrorism activities are increasingly moving towards law enforcement operations with a focus on criminal prosecutions. Nevertheless, the military remains an important actor in such operations and has become crucial in securing and gathering evidence used to prosecute alleged terrorists. This expert panel looked at some of the scenarios and challenges faced by the military, prosecutors and judges in gathering and using such evidence collected on the battlefield. In their discussions, Bas van Hoek LL.M. (Centre of Military Criminal Law, Public Prosecution Service District Office East Netherlands), Col. Joop Voetelink (Netherlands Defence Academy), Dr. Bibi van Ginkel (ICCT) and Dr. David Scharia (UN Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate) considered issues such as practical challenges, the admissibility of evidence, the protection of due process and human rights, as well as national precedents and experiences from tribunals such as the International Criminal Court.

Following brief presentations by each speaker, Dr. Christophe Paulussen (ICCT and T.M.C. Asser Instituut) moderated the panel discussion.



Col. Joop Voetelink served as Guided Missile Officer and HR officer in the Royal Netherlands Air Force after graduation from the Royal Military Academy (KMA) in 1984. After completing his legal studies in 1997 at the University of Tilburg Col Voetelink served as legal officer in the Staff of the Commander in Chief and later as lecturer at the Netherlands Defence Academy (NLDA). In 2013 he deployed to Afghanistan where he served as Chief of Staff of the NATO Rule of Law Field Support Mission/Rule of Law Field Force Afghanistan until the end of that mission on 30 September 2013. Col. Voetelink achieved his PhD title on a thesis on the legal status of military forces stationed abroad in September 2012.

Bas van Hoek LL.M.  is head of the Centre of Military Criminal Law at the District Prosecutor's Office East Netherlands. Previously he was a legal advisor to the Royal Netherlands Army (1998 - 2007); and was deployed in Bosnia-Herzegovina (2002), Uruzgan (2006 - 07) and Kunduz (2011). He has also acted as adjunct assistant professor in Military and Disciplinary Law at the University of Amsterdam.

Dr. David Scharia is a Senior Legal Officer and the Coordinator of the Legal and Criminal Justice Group at the United Nations Security Council Counter Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED). The Legal and Criminal Justice Group provides legal advice to the Security Council’s Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC) on States’ implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions on countering terrorism and plays a dominant role in facilitating counterterrorism capacity building of States. During 2011-2012 Dr. Scharia was invited by Columbia Law School to become a National Security Law Scholar in Residence. Dr. Scharia is a frequent writer and lecturer on these issues in international forums and holds an L.L.B., L.L.M (Magna Cum Laude) and a PhD from Tel Aviv University.

Dr. Bibi van Ginkel is a senior research fellow at Clingendael Research Department of the Netherlands Institute for International Relations ‘Clingendael’, as well as a Research Fellow at ICCT. Van Ginkel specialises in the nexus between international law, including human rights and humanitarian law, and security issues. She has a great knowledge with regard to the United Nations and other security organisations. Special focus in her research is on counter-piracy and counter-terrorism issues.



15:00 – 15:10: Welcome – Christophe Paulussen (T.M.C. Asser Instituut / ICCT)

15:10 – 15:20: Introduction to the topic – Bibi van Ginkel (ICCT)

15:20 – 15:30: UN approach, perspectives and challenges – David Scharia (UN CTED)

15:30 – 15:40: Practical matters: the military perspective – Col. Joop Voetelink (NLDA)

15:40 – 15:50: Court matters: a prosecutor’s perspective – Bas van Hoek (Centre of Military Criminal Law)

15:50 – 17:00: Interactive discussion

17:00 -           : Drinks reception