21 October 2020, Sindh – A series of capacity building workshops titled Mock Criminal Investigation & Trial Exercise on the Investigation and Prosecution of Terrorist Financing (TF) were organized by National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) in collaboration with UNODC across the province of Sindh between 12 and 20 October 2020. The two-day workshops were held in three cities; Karachi (12-13 October), Hyderabad (15-16 October), and Sukkur (19-20 October). Over 80 criminal justice officials including judges, prosecutors and investigators from districts of Karachi, Hyderabad, Umerkot, Tharparkar, Mirpurkhas, Larkana, Ghotki and Sukkur participated along with international experts from INTERPOL and World Customs Organization (WCO).
Building capacity for Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) is one of the key objectives under the framework of Pakistan’s Action to Counter Terrorism (PACT) project in Sindh. To achieve this goal, the workshops were designed to enhance the skills and knowledge of stakeholders across the provincial criminal justice system using a blended approach of expert presentations in-person and virtually followed by a mock-trail of a factitious terrorism financing case. During the morning sessions of each workshop, presentations were delivered by NACTA officials on Pakistan’s legal framework on CFT, followed by CT Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Pakistan’s obligations to the United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) on targeted financial sanctions especially UNSCR 1267.
The latter half of the day included presentations by UNODC experts on current and emerging challenges of terrorist financing followed by INTERPOL representative on challenges and approaches for investigators terrorism financing cases and the tools available to Member States for enhancing international cooperation. The representatives from the World Customs Organization (WCO) presented on various means of terrorist financing with a specific reference to bulk cash smuggling and movement of gems and precious metals.
During the second day of workshops, NACTA and UNODC facilitated a mock-trial exercise on terrorism financing. The interactive exercise used a case scenario to identify challenges faced in investigation, prosecution, and adjudication of cases, along with various tools and approaches to manage them. The mock-trial exercise was complemented with on-going group discussions to gain insight into various national and international standards on information sharing, investigation, legal processes, evidence requirements, recent legislative amendments in Pakistan, and admissibility of evidence for successful adjudication of terrorism financing cases.
The purpose of the mock-trial was to allow participants a dynamic learning environment where they could present and augment learning with incremental sets of evidence and information as the investigation and trial progressed. The session aimed to encourage peer-learning and experience-sharing during the interactive-sessions while improving inter-agency cooperation and information sharing going forward.
Presentations were also shared by experienced advocates on United Kingdom’s approach to criminal investigations and prosecutions related to terrorism as well as defense perspective in criminal prosecution trials in Pakistan.
The activity was made possible with the financial support of the European Union under the Foreign Policy Instrument (FPI).