Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the UNSC briefing on International Judicial Cooperation in Countering Terrorism

Mr. President,

I would like to join others by expressing our sincere appreciation to the Spanish delegation and to you personally, Mr. Minister, for convening this meeting, as well as initiating resolution 2322 which Ukraine cosponsored.

I would like to also join other delegations in expressing words of solidarity and condolences to Egypt, Turkey and other countries which suffered from violent terrorist acts recently.

And, of course, thank you to briefers for your contributions to today's briefing.

There is no doubt that today, when the growing terrorist threat transcends national borders, the international legal cooperation in matters pertaining to counter-terrorism is of paramount importance. No single state, no matter how technologically advanced and militarily powerful, can effectively combat this problem on its own.

Numerous international treaties and UN decisions in the counter-terrorism field have already established mechanisms for facilitating mutual assistance, apprehending fugitives and, when appropriate, extraditing wrongdoers.

Yet, they often lack cohesion and efficiency because of complicated and time-consuming procedures for processing foreign requests in investigations and prosecutions against those suspected of involvement in terrorist activities.

In this regard, I would like to highlight several points on improving practical cooperation and reducing delays in rendering mutual legal assistance (MLA) and information sharing.

To ensure faster response, especially in circumstances demanding the prioritization in handling terrorism-related cases, there is a persistent need for creating effective Central Authorities for mutual legal assistance and extradition, provided with adequate resources and experienced staff. Such Authorities can also serve as direct points of contact in the framework of international and regional cooperation platforms.

To rapidly seek and provide assistance, States may consider regularly apply through simplified electronic MLA request forms. In order to facilitate these endeavors, international institutions – primarily the UN Office of Drugs and Crime and Interpol – may conduct respective trainings for national competent authorities. Furthermore, developing and introducing a universal electronic system for submitting, managing, and responding to MLA requests on terrorism related cases can be another major undertaking.

Competent authorities can also benefit from using different ways of direct communication such as email or videoconferences in order to overcome challenges that may arise in satisfying such requests.

Mr. President,

To avoid conflicts of jurisdiction in cases that are subject to prosecution in more than one country, states can devise and apply universal judicial mechanisms for prosecution of terrorists in the interests of justice, for instance tribunals, special courts or even interstate hybrid courts. In such instances, the transfer of criminal proceedings can be one of possible solutions.

Implementation of such possible steps may require revision of relevant bilateral and multilateral treaties on international cooperation in criminal matters related to terrorism or conclusion of supplemental agreements to incorporate these additional provisions.

While processing MLA requests may take some time, there is a growing need to provide a basis for a timely sharing of operative and intelligence information while investigating terrorist activities and securing critical evidence, apprehending suspects and preventing terrorist acts from being carried out. This is where the Latin saying “periculum in mora” takes an especially somber significance.

Therefore, establishing mechanisms for cross-border collaboration between judicial and law enforcement agencies, including by appointment of liaison officers and conducting joint investigations in terrorism cases, facilitating a wider use of respective investigative international databases, provision of access to them for competent national authorities and facilitating inter-agency collaboration are of paramount importance.

In this vein, we also support the establishment of direct global communication platforms for competent authorities, such as recently introduced point of contact network in the Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism or INTERPOL I-24/7 police information exchange system.

Mr. President,

In the world’s history, the humanity has suffered from different disasters, wars, epidemics and other challenges, but we have always managed to overcome them. Thus, being united we will eliminate the terrorists threat once and for all. Frankly speaking, MLA reform in terrorism-related cases will not be easy but there is an urgent need to make an interstate cooperation more agile and efficient.

That is why we consider your initiative and this discussion particularly topical and timely. We are confident that today’s resolution will help us to achieve this goal.

I thank you.