Tuesday, July 22, 2008

UN Fights Terror With Law

On Friday July 11th Alistair Millar, director of the Center on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation, in conjunction with Mike Smith, Executive Director of Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate provided their thoughts on the multiple successes of counterterrorism efforts over the past 30 years. According to Smith, while the United Nations has outwardly acknowledged the rising issue of terrorism for more than 30 years, the debates regarding the urgency of terrorism ended on 9-11. The global impact of the terrorist attack, in conjunction with its close proximity to the UN Delegate’s annual assembly (which happened to be taking place during 9-11) led to the global rejection of terrorism is a legitimate form of foreign policy.

It took the catastrophic events of 9-11 for the UN to launch resolution 1373, otherwise known as CTED. Smith described resolution 1373 as a “security council legislation for the world,” which is fairly accurate considering it requires counties to criminalize terrorism, strengthen their legal intelligence, uphold borders, and extradite felons. Many countries had commenced counter-terrorism efforts prior to this CTED mandate and the UN “stamp” further exemplifies the global norm that the use of terrorism is unacceptable. The value of this UN “stamp” enables states states to work together, provides a greater authoritative influence, and promotes international collaboration on expertise and intelligence. An example of these capabilities is the international policing force: Interpol. Currently, Interpol projects a list of lost and stolen passport numbers and ID’s all over the globe in order to help countries uphold their borders and prevent the migration of criminals.

In addition to its intimidation factors and border assistance, the UN mandate compiles profiles of each country, and their strengths and weaknesses regarding counterterrorism initiatives. To do so, CTED, along with committee members from Interpol, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, and other UN affiliations, creates a Task Force that visits each country and meets with leaders in order to asses their needs. With the consent from each country, they will then ask “donor” countries (such as the US) to assist the countries in need by donating technology or information.

While CTED demonstrates the world’s ability to cooperate, and has faced little resistance in their efforts, there are still some shortcomings. For instance, until this year, CTED had only visited 3rd world countries, thus spurring international complaints of discrimination. CTED also faces issues regarding the limitations Human Rights present when attempting to enforce counterterrorism laws. Finally, there are inefficiency issues and CTED faces the possibility of attacks as it struggles to create a profile for every country.

Currently CTED is making a few changes in order to address these concerns and increase efficiency. They recently visited Australia, thus breaking their previous trend of exclusive third world country visits. CTED has also revamped its visits to be custom-designed and country-specific as oppose to the previously performed general, comprehensive visits. It is clear that CTED is a pioneer in global anti-terrorism, however it has a long way to go and risks failure at the expense of inefficiency.

Sponsors: Center on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation
Date: 7/11/08
Representative: Daria Willis

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