In November 2012, ICCT together with the T.M.C. Asser Institute began a criminal justice sector/ rule of law capacity building project aimed at developing or improving good practices in an effective and rule of law-based criminal justice sector response to terrorism. The project related to the efforts of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) Criminal Justice Sector/Rule of Law Working Group and the GCTF Rabat Memorandum on Good Practices for Effective Counterterrorism Practice in the Criminal Justice Sector.
The overall objective of the project is to assist governments, legislators and the judiciary in strengthening an effective and rule of law-based criminal justice sector response to terrorism. The main focus was to assist in developing or improving adequate processes for the use and protection of witnesses as well as sensitive intelligence information in court to ensure effective prosecution of suspected terrorists with full respect for the rule of law and human rights. The sharing of national experiences and good practices, as well as the training of legislators, judges and other relevant actors were integral elements of the project. This pilot project was sponsored by the Government of the Netherlands, in line with its comprehensive strategy to countering terrorism.
To date, the project team has completed several needs assessments, two capacity building missions, and one workshop in Indonesia and Morocco.
About the project
On the basis of country requests, and in consultation with the principal donors – the Netherlands Ministry of Security & Justice and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs – ICCT has undertaken a number of needs assessment missions to requesting countries.
These initial consultations were conducted with the country seeking assistance and aim at calibrating the assistance, assessing the requesting government’s needs and capabilities, and defining the scope, objectives and modalities. Areas of focus included:
- legal embedment & practices of rule of law-based criminal justice sector response to terrorism in the respective country;
- national counter-terrorism / judicial / security / intelligence / inter-agency architecture; availability of empirical data;
- extent of legislation and mechanisms;
- level of familiarity and training of legal actors with regard to the use of intelligence in terrorism-related court cases and the protection of sources and witnesses.
Capacity Building Missions
Based upon the preliminary needs and capabilities assessment mission, the project team proposed to the requesting country a comprehensive plan for capacity building assistance. Depending on the type of assistance the requesting government sought, the capacity building missions involved: short workshops; guidance in drafting, evaluating and/or improving legislation; designing mechanisms that adequately facilitate the use of intelligence and or protection of witnesses in terrorism-related court cases; training and exchange programmes; as well as the setting up databases.
To ensure thorough and effective needs assessment and capacity building missions, leading national and international experts were identified in the required areas. These experts accompanied project staff on needs assessments and capacity building missions. The size and composition of the teams differed according to the government’s requests and needs, and the particular skills, experience and expertise required to address those needs.
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