STATEMENT BY D.FEOKTISTOV, HEAD OF THE DELEGATION OF RUSSIA AT THE 18th SESSION OF CICTE
(Washington, D.C., 3 May 2018)
Distinguished Madame Chairperson,
Due to the growing terrorist threat, Russia consistently advocates the need for uniting international efforts in order to establish a broad antiterrorist front that would operate on the basis of the norms of international law, without politicization and double standards.
In the era of globalization, no country can be totally protected fr om the terrorist threats. In this regard, we attach great importance to enhancing antiterrorist cooperation with the states of the Western Hemisphere that are more and more frequently facing terrorist challenges.
Despite substantial losses suffered by the "terrorist international" in Syria and Iraq it is yet premature to talk about the elimination of this threat to global peace and security. We note the increased efforts by ISIL to create fallback positions in different regions of the world, including in Latin America. There is a risk that training camps of the jihadists and recreation facilities emerge in the territory of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean; that terrorists establish contacts with local criminal and drug syndicates, use transport and energy infrastructure for terrorist purposes, and financial systems – for fundraising and money laundering. We are concerned about the increased recruitment activities of extremists, in particular in the Caribbean states, where a high number of citizens practice Islam.
A dangerous trend is the cross-border movement of foreign terrorist-fighters (FTF), including their return to the countries of origin or third countries under the guise of refugees. Having undergone military and combat training within the ranks of ISIL and other terrorist groups, they bear a high potential to radicalize the population and destabilize the situation.
In this regard, the key task is to improve the efficiency of the information exchange with a view to creating a common antiterrorist information environment. We invite our CICTE partners to join the International Counter-Terrorist Database (ICTD) established by the Federal Security Service of Russia (FSB), which unites 41 special services from 34 States, as well as six international organizations, including the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee, INTERPOL, the Commonwealth of Independent States Anti-Terrorism Centre and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure. The Database contains data on 89 terrorist organizations, over 400 reports of terrorist activities, as well as over 11,000 profiles of FTFs. To join the ICTD it is necessary to address an official request to the Director of the FSB and provide an external (public) static IP-address of the relevant national organization for further instructions. We note that several Latin American countries have already expressed interest in joining the ICTD.
Taking into account Russia’s extensive experience in eliminating the hotbeds of terrorism inside the country as well as abroad, we are ready to share it with our CICTE partners, including by engaging operational resources of our competent authorities. To that end, we regularly organize capacity-building courses for the law enforcement agencies and special services of Latin American and Caribbean countries in order to assist them establish national antiterrorist systems capable to respond to modern challenges. Earlier this year, three advanced training courses have been provided for the officers of the law enforcement agencies of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, on the basis of the educational institutions of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs. Two more training courses will be organized during the second half of the year. Besides that, the educational institutions of our Ministry of Internal Affairs are inviting law enforcement experts from Latin American and Caribbean countries to follow the twelve months' preparatory courses of Russian with subsequent admission to field-specific higher educational institutions.
Russia is providing assistance to its Latin American partners in training on combating other new challenges and threats. The first international capacity-building course for law enforcement officials from Central America and the Caribbean was launched on April 2 in the training center of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs in Managua (Nicaragua). Thirteen police officers from Nicaragua, three representatives from El Salvador, two each from the Dominican Republic and Guatemala, one each from Costa Rica and Mexico have completed the four-week course on investigative and forensic activities of countering drug trafficking. Seven more courses are planned for 2018.
Countering the financing of international terrorism is of paramount importance. We must ensure the comprehensive implementation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions, in particular 2199 and 2253, as well as FATF Standards, and enhance cooperation between financial intelligence units in order to identify individuals and legal entities that have financial and economic relations with terrorists.
At Russia's initiative, since 2016 FATF has been identifying sources and channels of providing financial support to ISIL, Al-Qaida and affiliated terrorist organizations. This requires an active exchange of relevant information between states. We are confident that if CICTE members join the implementation of this initiative, they will not only improve the effectiveness of the relevant multilateral efforts, but also contribute to their own security.
Russia welcomes growing international attention to terrorism prevention. Deradicalization and countering violent extremism that leads to terrorism are particularly important in this regard. Our principled position on this issue is unwavering – we believe it is necessary to build international antiterrorism and antiextremism cooperation on the basis of established international legal counter-terrorism framework (relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy); to recognize the central role of states and their competent authorities in combating terrorism and extremism including on the international level; to prevent the use of counterterrorism and antiextremism, as well as terrorist groups, as geopolitical instruments and tools of interfering in internal affairs of states and destabilizing "undesirable" regimes by inciting "color revolutions".
We keep a reserved stance towards initiatives that do not take into account these principles, first of all, the concept of "countering violent extremism" that is actively promoted by some countries. The notion of "violent extremism" is not defined in any international document and erodes the traditional tasks of counterterrorism. We would like to remind that the Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism proposed in 2016 by the former UN Secretary-General was only taken note of, but not approved in the relevant United Nations Security Council resolution 70/291 of July 1, 2016 on the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy review.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization Convention on Countering Extremism developed with the leading role of Russia and China is an important achievement in international antiextremism cooperation. Signed in June 2017, it can be viewed as a standard for the adequate vision of antiextremism and antiterrorism tasks, as well as the relevant international cooperation. Its fundamental novelty lies in the expanded definition of the threats posed by extremism: apart from its violent manifestations, the Convention reflects the evident ideological and propaganda dimensions that are quite as dangerous in terms of destabilization of modern states and societies, including the scenarios of "color revolutions". We invite our CICTE partners to consider acceding to the Convention taking into account its open nature.
Given the extensive use of modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) by terrorists, the fight against terrorists on the Internet is becoming increasingly relevant. There were four terrorist attacks in Russia last year, with 25 thwarted attempts. All of them were coordinated through the global network with the use of messengers, including from the territories of Syria and Iraq.
The level of expertise in the use of modern ICTs by terrorists is already rather high. This is not just about aggressive agitation and recruitment in the Internet wh ere we can find tens of thousands of websites of terrorist organizations and hundreds of thousands of their social media accounts, it is also about a massive use by terrorists of encrypted Internet communications, electronic banking and cryptocurrencies in remote management of terrorist activities and its financing. In parallel, terrorists are constantly expanding their relationships with the hacker community and establish their own cyberunits.
A procedure for a pre-trial restriction of access to extremist and terrorist content in the Internet has been introduced in Russia since 2014. Upon requests received from the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation, 13,500 websites containing calls for extremist and terrorist activities were blocked in Russia in 2017. More than 86,000 mirror websites of extremist resources, including 45,000 websites promoting ISIL activities, were identified and blocked as well.
We consider an unprecedented rise in crimes committed with the use of ICTs to be one of the most acute challenges to international information security that requires joint action. It is evident that existing international legal mechanisms can not adequately address this impending threat. Russia, like many other countries, believes that the solution lies in adoption of a relevant convention on ICTs under the auspices of the United Nations that would take into account modern realities and principles of sovereign equality and non-interference in the internal affairs of other states.
In this regard, Russia has prepared a draft universal UN convention on cooperation in combating information crimes that could provide the basis for international discussion on this topic. On December 28, 2017, this draft was circulated as a document of the UN General Assembly under agenda item 107 of its seventy-second session titled "Crime prevention and criminal justice" (A/C.3/72/12 of October 16, 2017) and published on the UN official website. We expect that draft convention would be a kind of "food for thought" paper for developing practical solutions in this area. We call upon our CICTE partners to join these efforts in order to adopt an effective universal criminal justice instrument against information crime.
The Russian Federation once again confirms its readiness to engage in the closest cooperation with the states of the Western Hemisphere in order to effectively counter terrorism.
Thank you, Madame Chairperson.