Research by a Northumbria academic is helping the United Nations and other international agencies develop strategies to counter terrorism and violent extremism in the Middle East.
Professor Mohamed Badar, Chair of Comparative and International Criminal Law at Northumbria Law School, was invited to present his work to delegates at the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) – United Nations Regional Conference for the Middle East and North Africa, which was heldin Egypt recently. The request followed previous research completed by Professor Badar, and funded by the European Union, investigating cross-border cooperation on crime and justice.
Conference attendees / participants included the President of the Egyptian House of Representatives, IPU Secretary General, Parliamentarians from the MENA region, the Inter-Parliamentary Union for Democracy, the United Nations Office of Counter Terrorism, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and representatives of the Arab Parliament and Arab League. Delegates and speakersexplored international counter terrorism strategies, including the specific threat from the mobilisation of foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) and best ways to establish a coordinated international response.
Professor Badar’s research on cross border cooperation to counter threats of terrorism was sought to provide expertise and to inform the Conference. He said: “This was an extremely high-profile event with senior national officials in attendance, so it was encouraging to see the research I have been conducting here at Northumbria having real impact and resonating at such a high level. I was able to address the audience on best practice in combating terrorism while respecting human rights legislation, and exchange the knowledge and experience based on EuroMed Justice documents which I drafted together with group of international experts. Much of our work and the conclusions we have been able to draw complement actions already being taken by the authorities, so I believe it was valuable to be able to reinforce and add to this.”
Professor Badar was also able to highlight how digital evidence can be used effectively in prosecutions of acts of terrorism, particularly the use of the internet and social media for terrorist purposes. He added: “The UK is a world leader in using digital evidence in prosecutions, and I was able to use relevant examples of this to demonstrate how the use of online propaganda and social media by groups such as the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) can be targeted as part of the legal response to terrorism. Conferences such as this are extremely important as they allow us to share information and ideas so that threats can be combated far more effectively.”
Professor Badar’s earlier research contributed to a publication entitled EuroMed Justice Handbook on International Cooperation in Criminal Matters. The project received €25,000 in funding from the European Union as part of a EuroMed Justice IV project to help develop judicial and law enforcement cooperation in the European Neighbourhood South Partner Countries (ENSPC) - Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia.
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