12 December 2016 - UNSC united on importance of international cooperation in fight against terrorism [fr]
International Judicial Cooperation in countering terrorism - Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 12 December 2016
As the Security Council is aware, France has been struck several times by murderous attacks, including on 14 July, our national holiday. We will not forget the exceptional groundswell of solidarity from the entire world, the popular gatherings, the monuments illuminated in the colours of the French flag and the numerous leaders who expressed their solidarity.
But France is certainly not the only country to have been attacked. Again just this weekend, Egypt, Turkey, Nigeria and Somalia were once again affected by terrorist attacks. On behalf of France, I wish to again convey to them our most sincere condolences.
Faced with this global threat that knows no borders, our response can be nothing less than collective. It must cover all fronts: military action, where necessary, and certainly political and diplomatic efforts to resolve the crises that fuel terrorism. Apart from those obvious initiatives, however, a whole series of areas, which are sometimes perceived as more technical, remain absolutely essential to an effective and sustainable fight against terrorism. International legal and police cooperation is one of them.
I would therefore first like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Spain for this initiative. Today’s debate provides us with an opportunity to send a strong and united message from the Security Council on the importance of international cooperation in fight against terrorism — much as we have done previously on the financing of terrorism or combating propaganda. Step by step and under the auspices of the Council, the United Nations is increasingly at the vanguard in the fight against terrorism. It is increasingly able to act and ensure the convergence of States’ efforts to counter that scourge. I also thank the speakers for their very informative briefings.
France welcomes the unanimous adoption of resolution 2322 (2016), aimed at strengthening judicial and police cooperation in the fight against terrorism, the first such resolution to deal specifically with the issue. I should like to focus on three especially important messages sent by the resolution.
First of all, it asserts that strengthening international judicial and police cooperation is not only essential to preventing foreign terrorist fighters from entering conflict zones but also to preparing for and managing their return to their respective territories, which is a crucial task.
Secondly, it stresses the importance of rapid coordination between the States involved in a terrorist investigation. Unfortunately, France has had considerable experience in that field. Through the attacks of 13 November 2015, we saw that the networks in question crossed Europe. Rapid and effective coordination can therefore be a major asset to successful investigations.
Thirdly, it highlights the need to use all available legal tools for cooperation in mutual legal assistance and extradition. The development of a directory of focal points and the use of electronic means of communication as support for requests for mutual assistance are especially desirable.
France also welcomes the fact that the resolution echoes the major initiatives of the European Union with regard to judicial and police cooperation in the areas of counter-terrorism.
France does not underestimate the current challenges of international judicial and police cooperation in the fight against terrorism. There are technical challenges, particularly those posed by the use of new information and communication technologies by terrorist groups, especially encrypted messaging systems. Differences in legal systems as well as the complexity of judicial organizations can also sometimes hinder cooperation. But those challenges are not insurmountable, and the United Nations has an essential role to play in that area.
First, the Organization must raise awareness and build capacity in States that need it, as a particularly important measure in helping States to better understand and respond to these challenges. In that regard, the technical assistance provided by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, particularly in the development of databases and the establishment of regional cooperation networks, is particularly valuable.
Moreover, given its universality and its legitimacy, the United Nations is in a position to encourage international cooperation among States, particularly with regard to the exchange of information and the gathering of evidence. Country visits by the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate are excellent opportunities for conveying those messages.
Finally, the United Nations has the unique capacity to bring together Member States, international organizations, the private sector and civil society in one place to discuss common problems, which is a real asset for strengthening public-private cooperation. In that regard, the Organization has a particular responsibility and it is an irreplaceable asset because of its legitimacy in the fight against terrorism, which affects us all.
I once again thank the Spanish presidency for this very thorough and important debate. Rest assured that France will continue to play its full part in efforts to strengthen international judicial and police cooperation in the fight against terrorism.