Newsletter 10/2011 - Guest Commentator
Judge at the Court of Cassation, France, and former Chairman of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF)
Impact of Regional Strategic Document on justice, home affairs and security cooperation in 2011-2013
Impact of the Regional Strategic Document (RSD) on justice, home affairs and security cooperation in South East Europe in 2011-2013 will be judged by the improvement it will make to the lives of ordinary citizens who are paying the price for crimes that the Strategy is attempting to address. Since the Strategy is just to be endorsed, it would be premature to adjudicate its actual effect. Nevertheless, if well implemented, the Strategy has great potential to stave off the multitude of challenges that continue to haunt the region.
While security and political stability have greatly improved in the past decade, South East Europe is very vulnerable to trans-national organized crime, corruption and terrorism. Incidents of human trafficking, sexual exploitation of children, smuggling of migrants, drug trafficking and money laundering are not new to this region. Curbing these criminal activities require a consolidated regional cooperation and robust state apparatus that could effectively deliver. Unfortunately, such institutions are lacking in many South East European countries.
In the absence of robust structures to stamp out high profile corruption, prevent national threats and provide an effective and fair justice system for all, the expected impact of the RSD on justice, home affairs and security cooperation in 2011-2013 would be undermined. Addressing capacity gaps is critical to the success of the Strategy. In that regard, efforts should be made to ensure that consolidation of cooperation is done in parallel with meaningful investment to strengthen national capacities.
Another important aspect to this equation is the harmonization of legal frameworks against trans-national organized crime, corruption and terrorism in the region. This will strengthen the application of the law and send a message that regardless of where the crime is committed, the law will take its course. It will be worthwhile in this regard to establish regional structures that could consolidate cooperation amongst all the agencies in particular between intelligence, law enforcement and prosecution. Such structures would also create space for better coordination at the operational level.
For the RSD on justice, home affairs and security cooperation to succeed, focus should not be limited to law enforcement and judiciary alone. The approach should be holistic as well as meaningful. It should encompass all elements related to prevention, including policies and issues such as limited education opportunities; ethnic, national and religious discrimination; violations of human rights; political exclusion; socio-economic marginalization. These are long-term preventative measures that would fundamentally address trans-national organized crime, corruption and terrorism.
To determine whether or not actions and policies being undertaken to address trans-national organized crime, corruption and terrorism are working, an effective evaluation process should be conducted. The results of the evaluation will help take stock of what works and what does not work, essentially driving the process in the right direction.
If well implemented, the RSD on justice, home affairs and security cooperation in 2011-2013 should advance South East European democratic and prosperous path it has embarked on. The United Nations Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) is ready in its area of competencies to assist the Regional Cooperation Council in this endeavor.
Jean Paul Laborde, took on his new assignment as a Conseiller à la Cour de Cassation in January 2011. Prior to that, Laborde worked as a Senior Advisor to the United Nations Under Secretary General for Political Affairs on Counter Terrorism Matters and subsequently as Chairman of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF), as well as Chairman and Head of the Office supporting CTITF since 2009. Before joining the Department of Political Affairs, Mr. Laborde served for 14 years in various senior positions within the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).