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International judges, prosecutors meet virtually to share best practices in prosecuting terrorism cases

 

By Roy Mabasa

More than 70 prosecutors, investigators, and judges from the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and the United States met virtually on Wednesday to share their expertise and best practices for prosecuting terrorism cases.

(US EMBASSY IN MANILA / MANILA BULLETIN)

(US EMBASSY IN MANILA / MANILA BULLETIN)

Under the auspices of the US Embassy’s Department of Justice – Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (DOJ-OPDAT) and its Philippine Department of Justice partners, the virtual regional counterterrorism conference and workshop focused on the use of digital forensics in counterterrorism cases.

During the workshop, a US Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) Lab official described how computer and cell phone evidence can be gathered and used to develop a terrorism case before acts of violence are committed, and explained that when investigators and prosecutors use digital evidence obtained through legal processes, they can often strengthen and prove a case that otherwise would have been impossible to develop.

The CCIPS Lab official and experts from Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and the Philippines exchanged views on the use of digital evidence in their respective countries and how to develop it as a tool against terrorism.

“This is a unique opportunity to hear from each other about common regional challenges and strengthen our resolve as we work together to find regional solutions,” US Ambassador to the Manila Sung Kim said as he was joined by Philippine Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R. Miller, US Embassy in Malaysia Chargé d’Affaires Dean Thompson, and US Embassy Jakarta Chargé d’Affaires Heather Variava.

In his remarks, Kim said that a fitting approach to overcome the enemy is a “strong legal system,” one that emanates from an effective law, implemented by professional law enforcement agencies, prosecuted by competent and trained prosecutors, and administered by a stable judicial system.

“A holistic approach from the domestic end, aided by our international partners, will make us better prepared to surmount this evil,” he said.

Early this week, the US Department of State, in its Country Reports on Terrorism 2019 noted that the Philippines, despite its political will to use security measures against terrorists, “struggles to apply a coordinated whole-of-government approach” in preventing terrorism, especially in the southern Philippines.

Citing several terror attacks that occurred in the southern Philippines in 2019, the State Department said the continued ability of terrorist organizations to operate in Mindanao “reflects the centuries-long challenge of governing effectively” in the remote areas of the country.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://news.mb.com.ph/2020/06/26/international-judges-prosecutors-meet-virtually-to-share-best-practices-in-prosecuting-terrorism-cases/)

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