The Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) continues to provide an effective, action-oriented platform for mobilizing expertise and resources to identify and address critical civilian counterterrorism (CT) needs. Over the past three years, the GCTF has developed a series of good practices documents on a range of CT issues and has mobilized more than $250 million to support national and regional efforts to address the Forum’s two strategic priorities: strengthening civilian institutions and countering violent extremism. All of this work contributes to the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. These framework documents, which were drafted to be globally-applicable by any interested state, are now helping to drive the global civilian CT capacity-building agenda. Additionally, the GCTF has served as a useful platform for developing practical initiatives to address topical, but sensitive CT issues. Perhaps most significantly, the GCTF has inspired the creation of three independent institutions that will further strengthen the international CT and countering violent extremism (CVE) architecture: (1) Hedayah (Abu Dhabi), the first-ever international center of excellence on CVE; (2) the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (Valletta), a center for training justice sector officials from across Africa and the Middle East on how to prevent and respond to terrorism and related transnational criminal activity while respecting human rights; and (3) the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (Geneva), a public-private global fund that will provide grants to community-based organizations working to counter violent extremism at the local level.
Re-emphasizing the Forum’s commitment to an action-oriented, rule of law-based approach to addressing the threats posed by terrorism and violent extremism, the September 2014 Ministerial Plenary will include the announcement of a number of concrete and practical deliverables.
I. Announcement of Efforts to Respond to the Growing “Foreign Terrorist Fighters” (FTF) Phenomenon
The Hague – Marrakech Memorandum on Good Practices for a More Effective Response to the FTF Phenomenon are intended to inform and guide interested governments as they develop comprehensive policies, programs, and approaches to address the FTF phenomenon. The good practices cover the four central aspects of the phenomenon: (1) radicalizing to violent extremism; (2) recruitment and facilitation; (3) travel and fighting; and, (4) return and reintegration. They are also intended to shape bilateral or multilateral technical or other capacity-building assistance that is provided in this area. Additionally, given the strong desire to have the GCTF remain focused on contributing to global efforts to address the FTF phenomenon, the GCTF expects to announce the formation of a new GCTF Working Group – one dedicated to range of FTF issues – designed to support the implementation of The Hague—Marrakech Memorandum and explore different aspects of the FTF phenomenon in the context of different conflicts, and share lessons learned, challenges, and good practices. Several GCTF members will announce concrete activities to implement the Good Practices outlined in The Hague—Marrakech Memorandum, including ones focused on aviation security, raising awareness of the FTF threat and building resiliency against it at the community level, effectively investigating and prosecuting FTFs, and on applying the lessons from the Rome Memorandum on Good Practices for Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Violent Extremist Offenders to the reintegration of FTFs upon return from conflict zones.
II. Adoption of Other GCTF Framework Documents
The Abu Dhabi Memorandum on Good Practices for Countering Violent Extremism and Education focuses on the ways in which education can be used as a tool to prevent and counter violent extremism by policymakers, teachers and educators, community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, and families.
Building on the expertise of senior judges and justice sector experts from around the globe, The Hague Memorandum on Good Practices for the Judiciary in Adjudicating Terrorism Offenses articulates a set of non-binding good practices on the role of the judiciary in handling CT cases within a rule of law framework, with a particular focus on effective case and trial management. These good practices aim to support the development of a strong and independent judiciary in States, assist judges in more effectively adjudicating cases that involve terrorism offenses, and help ensure the right to a fair trial is respected.
The Recommendations for Using and Protecting Intelligence Information in Rule of Law-Based, Criminal Justice Sector-Led Investigations and Prosecutions provides a set of non-binding recommendations to interested States regarding the implementation of Good Practice 6 from the Rabat Memorandum on Good Practices for Effective Counterterrorism Practice in the Criminal Justice Sector, which encourages States to enact rule of law-based measures to protect the sources and collection methods of such information in terrorism cases.
III. Announcement of Further Efforts to Implement the Algiers Memorandum on Good Practices for Preventing and Denying the Benefits of Kidnapping for Ransom by Terrorists
The Algiers Memorandum has quickly proven to be influential, and in January 2014, the UN Security Council adopted its first resolution on KFR (UNSCR 2133). To ensure the Algiers Memorandum has practical impact, Algeria, Canada, and the United States, together with interested GCTF members and partners in the Sahel and other regions, have supported the development of a set of highly interactive training modules that will be made available to any interested partner for use in bilateral or multilateral capacity building efforts related to the implementation of the Algiers Memorandum. These materials will be made accessible via the GCTF website (www.theGCTF.org). Additionally, Algeria, Canada, and the United States will announce a series of workshops to be implemented by the Institute for Security Studies in collaboration with the GCTF and the IIJ for countries in the Sahel and Maghreb regions focusing on the implementation of the Algiers Memorandum, the first of which will be held on 14-16 October 2014 at the IIJ. These workshops will be accompanied by an effort to elaborate an addendum to the Algiers Memorandum focused specifically on KFR prevention. Additionally, Algeria will host the next training on KFR in late 2014.
IV. Announcements on Hedayah, the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law, and the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund
Members will announce concrete support for the three Forum-inspired international institutions: (1) Hedayah; (2) the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law in Malta; and (3) the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, all of which will exist as independent legal entities. This support may come in the form of commitments of funding, secondments, and expertise. These institutions have the potential to make a significant impact on our collective efforts to counter violent extremism and provide sustainable CT training to a new generation of criminal justice practitioners across Africa and the Middle East. The September Ministerial will provide an opportune time for GCTF members to demonstrate their support to these three institutions.
V. Announcement of Open Border Management Initiative
In collaboration with the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT), the GCTF will launch an initiative, which will be co-led by the United States and Morocco, to address the challenge of managing open borders, which are sometimes remote and lightly patrolled, and which illicit actors exploit to facilitate the illegal cross-border movement of people, including terrorists and other criminals, illicit goods that can be used in terrorist attacks (including drugs, illegal imports/exports, small arms, light weapons, ammunition and explosives, and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear material), and bulk cash that may fund terrorist activities. This initiative, which will involve a series of workshops hosted by different countries (with support from the UNCCT and individual GCTF members), would bring together border security policymakers and practitioners from countries in different regions to: (1) share expertise and exchange experiences and challenges in these areas; (2) identify good practices that could be developed and then constitute a strategic framework for capacity-building efforts in this area; (3) identify relevant, priority capacity gaps in this area on which international partners should focus; (4) identify effective technical assistance and other capacity-building programs or mechanisms in this field, which could be scaled up to address the above-mentioned priorities; and (5) mobilize additional resources and developing new programs. The inaugural activity of this initiative will be hosted by Morocco in late 2014 or early 2015, followed by a possible meeting in Australia.
VI. Announcement of an Initiative to Foster Cooperation Networks among Justice Sector and Other Law Enforcement Practitioners in the Sahel and Maghreb Regions
In collaboration with the IIJ and the United Nations, Morocco and the United States will announce the launch of a GCTF initiative, the goals of which would include the development and launch of a coordination and cooperation platform in the Sahel-Maghreb that will: (a) facilitate the sharing of information among justice sector officials in these regions (including processes for investigating and prosecuting suspected terrorists and modus operandi of terrorist groups in the regions); (b) promote coordination and identification of shared priorities related to cross border investigations and prosecutions of terrorism and other criminal activity between appropriate judicial authorities; and (c) support coordination of extradition and mutual legal assistance requests on terrorism and other related cases. The initiative will launch at the IIJ in Malta on 9-11 September and will include a series of follow-on activities that address specific challenges and current constraints in the area of informal cooperation which were outlined in the workshop’s action plan. Morocco will host the second meeting of this initiative in late 2014 or early 2015.
VII. Capacity-Building Projects Advancing GCTF Strategic Priorities
GCTF members will announce capacity-building projects, both bilateral and multilateral, to support the implementation of GCTF framework documents and broader GCTF strategic priorities. More information on these initiatives will be released following the Ministerial Plenary.