Remarks by Alexey L. Lyzhenkov Head of the Russian delegation, deputy Director of the Department on New Challenges and Threats at the 21-st session of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE)
Practical Cooperation for Addressing the Linkages
Between Organized Crime and Terrorism
My delegation appreciates the opportunity to speak on pressing issue related to practical cooperation for addressing the linkages between organized crime and terrorism. This topic is of importance not only for the Western Hemisphere, but for the entire world, each and every region. Adoption of the UN SC Resolution 2482 in 2019 proves that nexus between organized crime and terrorism has global dimension. Many terrorist acts have shown graphically that terrorists benefit from organized crime by:
- purchasing weapons and different types of military equipment;
- using criminals as a source of logistic support and criminal money as a source of financing;
- using illicit drug criminal networks for terrorist purposes;
The problem of stemming the flows of weapons and other types of military equipment to terrorist organizations is of high priority and requires special attention of the international community. For its part Russia has held two “International conferences on countering illicit arms trafficking in the context of fighting international terrorism” (Moscow, 2018, 2019). My delegation would be ready to share the outcome reports of both of these Conferences with the CICTE partners (through the CICTE Secretariat).
Let me also mention a joint pilot project by the UN Office on Counter-Terrorism and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime to disrupt arming of terrorists. Within the framework of the project, sponsored by Russia and launched almost a year ago, various assistance has been provided to the Central Asian countries in the area of suppressing illegal arms trafficking. Donor and the UN implementation agencies are of the view that this project may become a pilot one to be used in other regions of the world. We urge interested States to consider the possibility of joining this project both as donors or as recipients of technical assistance in the future.
One of the most effective instruments to counter the linkage between Organized Crime and Terrorism is depriving criminals of illegal incomes. It is in this context that the Russian Federation together with two FATF-style regional groups (the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism and the Asia-Pacific Group on Money-Laundering) initiated a Study on terrorism financing from proceeds of crime, including proceeds of organized crime. We are open to share basic results of this study, as soon as it is finished, with our CICTE colleagues for your possible use of the identified typologies to prevent terrorism financing from proceeds of crime.
The threat “posed by illicit cultivation, production, trafficking and consumption of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances”, which significantly contribute to the financial resources of terrorist groups is addressed by many international organizations, including UNODC. To eliminate links between terrorist groups and drug trafficking we are ready to work with our partners internationally. We advocate strengthening of the policy-making role of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in the area of drug control. We emphasize the need for States to strictly comply with the international anti-drug Conventions. We call upon all our partners to cooperate regionally and bilaterally on combating the nexus between terrorism and drug trafficking.
The Russian Federation stands for enhanced cooperation in order to identify, trace and prosecute all individuals and organizations sponsoring terrorism. We believe that effective counter-terrorism measures require sharing critical information about terrorists and terrorist organizations. Recent terrorist attacks have once again highlighted the need to establish a timely and effective exchange of information between counter-terrorism, customs, border, intelligence and other agencies. It is also necessary to develop cooperation between the special services and local authorities, as well as business community.
In 2008 the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation established an International Counterterrorism Database. The Database members contribute to it on a voluntary basis, thus making it a perfect platform for a timely and effective exchange of information between all interested partners. One of the major benefits of the Database is that it allows to track online movements of FTFs and provides constant updates on various FTF related information. All members are able to make their own inputs and updates in different sections of the software. Moreover, the Database allows to create an online encrypted e-mail service between its participants in order to instantly exchange messages, audio and video files, etc.
To date 57 intelligence services from 43 States as well as 8 international organizations, including the UN Counter Terrorism Committee and Interpol, have joined the Database. Argentina, Brazil and Nicaragua are also among its members. We encourage our partners to join the International Counterterrorism Database.
Another critical area is education of law enforcement and special services personnel. Russian Financial Intelligence Unit (Rosfinmonitoring) runs a highly effective and successful International Training and Methodology Centre for Financial Monitoring (in Moscow), where experts from Financial Intelligence Units and personnel from interested government institutions from all over the world upgrade their professional skills and exchange “best practices”. In the course of the last few years 9 experts from Argentina, 3 – from Brazil, 10 – from Nicaragua, 10 – from Peru, 9 - from the US attended training courses in this Center.
To bring qualified expertise even closer to your region the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation made operational a Law Enforcement Training Facility in Managua, Nicaragua since October 2017. During these 4 years more than 1009 experts from Brazil, Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Nicaragua were trained in the Facility.
In the view of this delegation the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime establishes a solid legal ground for joint efforts to strengthen international cooperation when addressing the linkages between Organized Crime and Terrorism. A number of practical steps to be taken in this regard have been already identified and agreed upon by member-states of this Convention. Let me mention just a few of them:
- criminalization of participation in an organized criminal group;
- criminalization of the laundering of proceeds of crime;
- criminalization of corruption;
- extradition and mutual legal assistance;
- joint investigations;
- criminalization of obstruction of justice;
- law enforcement cooperation, etc.
All these practical steps when implemented in their entirety, would certainly diminish the threat to the international community posed by Organized Crime and Terrorism.
Mr. Chairman, thank you and members of the Committee for the attention.