In May 2016, continuing its collaboration with the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, SPL was invited to join The Prevention Project, directed by the Global Center on Cooperative Security.
The project aims to support UN member states’ efforts to deal holistically and constructively with citizens who travel to fight with extremist and terrorist organizations, by developing effective community-led and, where appropriate, legal and administrative rehabilitation and reintegration programs.
Emerging Trends in Terrorism and Counterterrorism
New York University Center for Global Affairs | Nov. 15, 2017
Session I: Returning & Relocating Foreign Terrorist Fighters
While the flow of FTFs to Iraq and Syria has slowed, returnees and the relocation of fighters from the conflict zones to other regions present a considerable threat to international security. The flow of returnees risks spreading the threat posed by individuals loyal to ISIL to new regions. In addition to calling for terrorist attacks on an international scale, terrorist organizations—including ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Qaida, Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab—have compensated for their territorial losses by expanding their presence to new areas. This session will focus on discussing challenges related to returning and relocating foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs).
Session II: Countering Violent Extremism
Some Member States are concerned that the numbers of FTFs returning to their countries of origin, potentially intending to perpetrate attacks, in combination with those being radicalized to violence within those countries, present a growing challenge to national security. The purpose of this session is to share and discuss good practices in countering violent extremism (CVE), including the role of the media, civil and religious society, the business community and educational institutions to enhance dialogue and broaden understanding, and in promoting tolerance and coexistence, and in fostering an environment which is not conducive to incitement of terrorism.
Session III: Protection of Soft Targets
Over recent years, the proportion of terrorist plots resulting in fatalities has increased, in part due to the activities of returning and relocating foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs), as well as due to the evolution in terrorists’ modus operandi, including: (i) their use of basic (legal and easily accessible) tools that reduce opportunities for detection and disruption; (ii) their emphasis on (often poorly protected) civilian targets; and (iii) their use of information and communications technologies (ICT), including encrypted messaging services, for terrorist purposes, including to remotely guide single-perpetrator terrorist attacks. The purpose of this session is to analyze and discuss challenges and good practices related to preventing terrorist acts against civilians.
Session IV: The Future of the Global Research Network
The purpose of this session is to assist CTED in its preparation of: (i) A list of specific trends, developments and issues that require further research and analysis; and (ii) An internal work plan for future engagement with members of the Network, with a view to developing further evidence-based research that can support the work of the Committee and CTED.
CTED Second Open Meeting of the Chair of the Counter-Terrorism Committee and Global Research Network Partners
UN Headquarters, New York City | Nov. 16, 2017
- Session 1: Summary of NYU technical consultations
- Session II: Implementation of Security Council Resolution 2178 (2014)
- Session III: National practices in CVE that can be conducive to terrorism
- Session IV: The protection of civilian (“soft”) targets
- Emman El-Badawy, Tony Blair Institute for Global Change
- Cheryl Frank, Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria
- Pavel Mareev, Commonwealth of Independent States Anti-Terrorism Center (CIS ATC)
- Magnus Ranstorp, Swedish National Defence College
- David Scharia, Chief of Branch, Counter-Terrorism Executive Director (CTED)
- Ali Soufan, The Soufan Group
Understanding Interdisciplinary Responses to International Terrorism & Violent Extremisms
April 28, 2017 | SU College of Law
On April 28, 2017, students presented research findings in the workshop “Understanding Interdisciplinary Responses to International Terrorism & Violent Extremisms” at SU College of Law. The students’ work was the culmination of a semester-long partnership with Emory University, George Washington University, and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Strategic Partnerships with Colleges and Universities.
Workshop topics included the role of the UN in crafting international counterterrorism policy; women’s leadership roles in terrorist organizations; the importance of anti-extremist K-12 educational programs; cross-cultural perspectives on CVE programs that work in other countries; the experience of vulnerable communities with CVE in the US; the challenge of implementing counterterrorist and counter-extremist laws and statutes; and the role of “hard” and “soft” power CVE mechanisms, including drones.
Building Off-Ramps and Reintegrating Foreign Fighters and Terrorist Offenders (Challenges and Opportunities)
June 9, 2016 | George Washington University
The rehabilitation and reintegration of terrorism offenders, returned foreign (terrorist) fighters, and (suspected) violent extremists is among the most pressing, yet politically and legally complex, issues facing policymakers and practitioners focused on countering and preventing the spread of violent extremism.
This one-day workshop brings together a diverse group of civil society practitioners, policymakers, and issue experts to highlight the challenges and lessons learned from rehabilitation and reintegration programs. Participants will enumerate a series of practical recommendations for government and non-government stakeholders to consider as they seek enhance the effectiveness of this critical element of the CVE tool-kit. The discussion will help shape one core section of The Prevention Project final report.
ISPL GW Workshop Contribution: Emergent International CVE Legal & Policy Architecture
By Professor Corri Zoli & Nathan Sales
International legal and policy architecture pertaining to The Prevention Project theme of rehabilitation and reintegration programs are critical yet legally and politically complex elements in the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) tool-kit.
Firstly, ISPL representatives will begin by discussing the principal US federal law used to prosecute suspected terrorists and supporters—the so-called Material Support Statute (18 USC §2339B)—and its implications for CVE, specifically rehabilitation and reintegration efforts. The goal of this notoriously sweeping law is to prevent acts of terrorism by striking at financial and other support structures that help facilitate attacks.
Toward that end, the Material Support Statute makes it a crime to provide almost any sort of good or service to terrorists or designated terrorist organizations. They also will discuss judicial interpretations of the statute, in particular the US Supreme Court’s decision in Holder vs. Humanitarian Law Project, which held that providing a terrorist organization with training and instruction on how to resolve disputes peacefully and without violence count as prohibited material support. As we will see, that expansive interpretation has important implications not only for foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) but also for those who use CVE strategies to address FTF problems.
Secondly, ISPL representatives will discuss results from research for the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) that examines member states’ implementation of CVE law and policy strategies in compliance with UN Security Resolution 2178 for managing the foreign terrorist fighter (FTF) phenomenon.
“Terror in Europe: Combating Foreign Fighters and Homegrown Networks” (Matthew Levitt, Olivier Decottignies, and Eric Rosand | Washington Institute, March 31, 2016)
“Development and Countering Violent Extremism” (Naureen Chowdhury Fink and Rafia Bhulai | Global Center, March 2016)
“Foreign Fighters: An Updated Assessment of the Flow of Foreign Fighters into Syria and Iraq.” (Soufan Group, December 2015)
“Countering Violent Extremism: What Are the Key Challenges for the United Nations?” (Naureen Chowdhury Fink | Global Center, November 2015)
“Does CVE Work? Lessons Learned From the Global Effort to Counter Violent Extremism.” (Peter Romaniuk | Global Center, September 2015)
Related Projects—Law 822 (Research Center)
Collaborations with UN CTED Collaboration, Department of Homeland Security
Students in the National Security and Counterterrorism Research Center, a working laboratory for law and other graduate students interested in contemporary security issues, worked on the following Countering Violent Extremist (CVE) projects:
- A multi-institutional partnership with Emory University, George Washington University, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to create recommendations for the DHS Secretary for Strategic Partnerships with Colleges and Universities and the K-12 Community with relation to CVE-related academic programs and research.
- A continuation of the collaboration with the UN Counterterrorism Executive Directorate (UN CTED) examining member states’ implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2178 (2014) to examine the domestic implementation of UNSCR 2178 and challenges among member states; to explore and compare emerging CVE laws and policies; and to track Foreign Terrorist Fighter (FTF) flows and returnees.
Students in the National Security and Counterterrorism Research Center, a working laboratory for law and other graduate students interested in contemporary security issues, presented research on how UN member states from various regions are complying with UN Security Council Resolution 2178 (2014), which calls on member states to prevent the “recruiting, organizing, transporting, or equipping of individuals who travel to a State other than their States of residence or nationality for the purpose of the perpetration, planning of, or participation in terrorist acts.” The presentation was made at SU Law to visiting representatives of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), including David Scharia, UN CTED Senior Legal Officer. A follow-up report is under development.
Students in the National Security and Counterterrorism Research Center created (for UN CTED) three interrelated reports that addressed UN member states’ criminal, administrative, and prosecutorial strategies to halt the international flow of terrorism, as well as states’ compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 2178 (2014). In March 2015, 18 students representing SU Maxwell School and SU Law presented the reports to the UN CTED at the UN headquarters in New York City.