Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Secretary for Defence,Justice and Security, Mr.A.Makgonatsotlhe, at the opening Workshop on International Cooperation in Combating Terrorism

source: Republic of Botswana (11/7/09) TAUTONA TIMES no 18 of 2009
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline

B7) 8/7/09: Statement by the Secretary for Defence, Justice and Security, Mr. Augustine Makgonatsotlhe, at the opening Workshop on International Cooperation in Combating Terrorism:

Director of Ceremonies, Distinguished UNODC Staff Members, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. It is a great honour and privilege for me to perform the official opening of this important workshop that aims at strengthening capacity in the criminal justice system.

2. Let me take this opportunity to welcome the team of experts from the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). We are greatly honoured to have you here to share with us the best practice in dealing with the threat of terrorism.

3. I also wish to commend and welcome judicial officers from our sister Republics of Namibia and Zambia for honouring our invitation to this workshop.

4. May I also take this opportunity to commend local participants, the majority of whom are drawn from Magistrates, Prosecutors and legal practitioners, for turning up in large numbers. We remain grateful to the Terrorism Prevention Branch in the Southern African Region based in Pretoria, Republic of South Africa, for ensuring that this workshop takes place against the challenges we initially faced.

5. Director of Ceremonies, given the commitment demonstrated by Member States of the United Nations on strengthening measures to combat terrorism and all its manifestations in their respective countries I have no doubt in my mind that the Terrorism Prevention Branch will succeed in achieving a functional universal legal regime against terrorism. This commitment is clearly demonstrated in a good number of initiatives that resulted in the immense achievements on the part of the UNODC.

6. Since the launch of its Global Project on Strengthening the Legal Regime against terrorism in 2003, UNODC has provided legal support to more than 150 countries all over the world – of which 114 received country-specific assistance – and has trained more than 6,000 national criminal justice officials.

7. At the regional level, UNODC has provided all 53 African countries with direct or indirect technical assistance for the ratification and implementation of the universal legal instruments against terrorism; it has organized 26 regional and sub-regional workshops; and trained approximately 1,400 national criminal justice officials. So far, 16 African countries have drafted and 8 have passed new anti-terrorism legislation.

8. Ever since 9/11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent United Nations Resolution 1373 on Counter-Terrorism Botswana took appropriate measures to prevent and fight terrorism in all its forms. A National Counter-Terrorism Committee was set up to coordinate the implementation of the international instruments against Terrorism.

9. The committee has set up a Task Force to deal directly with critical areas such as incidences of money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism. To this end, the Bank of Botswana, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, the DCEC, Attorney General and the Police are all out to ensure that money transmission service providers in Botswana take appropriate measures to comply with international financial rules and regulations.

10. As early as 2001, the Bank of Botswana issued a Circular to all financial institutions in Botswana to comply with the UN Resolution 1373 which called on the combating of money laundering and terrorism financing. Such measures include blockage of transmission and forfeiture of properties and interests of persons known to pose significant risk in money laundering and/or terrorism.

11. Botswana is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an independent international body, based in Paris, France that issued forty recommendations that set up a universal framework for anti money-laundering efforts. These recommendations cover in the criminal justice system: law enforcement; provisions to combat the financing of Terrorism and International Cooperation initiatives.

12. Director of Ceremonies, it is indeed encouraging that this workshop will complement efforts already in place to combat terrorism in Botswana. We are particularly grateful that the target group for this workshop is criminal justice officials who will be better equipped on how to deal with cases of this nature.

13. This workshop is meant to foster international cooperation in combating terrorism. To achieve this, the participants will be given a presentation on the national legislation against terrorism and international cooperation in criminal matters (i.e. extradition and mutual legal assistance) including bilateral and multilateral treaties and agreements, by each participating country i.e. Botswana, Namibia and Zambia. You will be taken through a case study on how to combat terrorism through international cooperation and discuss some of the challenges to criminal justice counter-terrorism cooperation in Southern Africa.

14. At the end of this workshop you will be expected to master the tools which you will ultimately use to facilitate international cooperation in criminal matters by learning and understanding the Mutual Legal Assistance Request Writer Tool and Electronic Database. And lastly, you will learn how to use INTERPOL to prosecute international terrorism cases.

15. Director of Ceremonies, I am quite confident that the workshop participants will be taken through sessions that would ensure that the workshop objectives will be ultimately achieved. In conclusion, I would like to commend the UNODC for the impeccable work they are doing in this sensitive area that impacts on security of the nation and its people. I wish you a productive two day workshop and I hope you will all find it rewarding. It is now my honour to declare this workshop officially opened. I thank you.

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