Regional Webinar for Southern African Development Community States Members on Human Rights and Rule of Law in the Prevention and Countering of Terrorism, Violent Extremism and Transnational Organized Crime (PCT and TOC)

ACSRT-SADC meeting-f

The African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT/CAERT) held a Regional webinar on Human Rights and Rule of Law in the Prevention and Countering of Terrorism, Violent Extremism and Transnational Organized Crime (PCT and TOC) for Military and Law Enforcement personnel of Southern African Development Community {SADC} States Members, from 9 to 11 April 2021.

The three-day webinar aimed to strengthen the capacity of defence, Police, Gendarmerie and others law enforcement agents, involved in countering Terrorism, Violent Extremism (CT/VE) and Transnational Organized Crime (TOC), to observe Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the accomplishment of their missions. Ultimately, this webinar serves to establish and consolidate trust between these agents and the local communities. Trust which constitutes the key to the success of the prevention and the fight against these scourges.

The webinar discussed, among others:
• The importance of respecting human rights and rule of law while countering terrorism and transnational organized crime,
• International and African Union legal frameworks on human rights and existing mechanism on protecting human rights,
• Criminalization of terrorist offences,
• Respect for human rights and rule of law in investigation of terrorism related case,
• Protection of victims of terrorism, the punishment of terrorist offences

In his opening remarks, Mr. Idriss Mounir Lallali, Ag. Director of the ACSRT lauded the role of SADC Secretariat for its dedication and its unwavering commitment to the African continent’s peace and stability. He also expressed gratitude to ACSRT partners who have responded positively to its invitation to share their experiences and lessons learned. Mr. Lallali recalled that the Webinar was a continuation of the work already organized under the auspices of the African Union and CAERT, in collaboration with the SADC Secretariat and in implementation of the existing MoU between the two institutions. He also highlighted that this webinar provided a platform for sharing of experiences and expertise amongst the participating stakeholders, in addition to the discussion of international standards and accepted good practices in addition to the African Union Comprehensive Model Anti-Terrorism Law and the African Union Guidelines on the respect for HR while countering terrorism.

He also emphasized that the ACSRT’s missions are inspired by the African Union’s instruments on the prevention and combating of terrorism and the Universal Counter-Terrorism Instruments, including the United Nations General Assembly 2006 Global Counterterrorism Strategy, all based on the intangible principle of respect for human rights and the rule of law. He proceeded that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, in mind, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights of 1981, and several other international legal instruments, that the ACSRT executed its mandate. In this spirit, the Centre carries out missions to assess the capacities of prevention and combating of AU Member States, during which it paid particular attention to the measures and mechanisms put in place in these States to protect and fully enforce human rights for all of defence forces and security agents, perpetrators, and facilitators of terrorist acts, and victims of terrorist acts.

Mr. Lallali concluded that Member States had to ensure respect for human rights and international humanitarian law, while preventing and combating terrorism, and reaffirms that any measures adopted to combat terrorism must comply with existing international law on human rights, refugees, and humanitarian law.
Participants for the three-day webinar included officials from SADC Secretariat, and Experts from UNCTED, UNODC, AFRIPOL, ISS, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and South Africa, in addition to representatives of SADC MS’ Military and Law Enforcement agencies.