Criminal Justice Handbook Series

2411-8273 (online)
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The Criminal Justice Handbook Series is a series of tools developed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to support countries in implementing the rule of law and the development of crime prevention and criminal justice reform. It can be used in a variety of contexts, including as part of UNODC technical assistance and capacity-building projects, both as a reference document and as a training tool.
Also available in French, Spanish
Handbook on Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism

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31 Dec 2010
9789211562828 (PDF)

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Terrorism is a complex and ever-changing phenomenon. The handbook aims to provide law enforcement and criminal justice officials with an accessible guide to assist them in dealing with some of the key issues that they face in their efforts to respond to terrorist and related crimes. The publication will also be of use to policymakers and political leaders in the shaping of new or enhanced counter-terrorism laws, policies and practices. It reviews the many challenges encountered by the various components of the criminal justice system in the prevention, investigation, prosecution and detention of alleged or convicted perpetrators of terrorist crimes. It offers guidance based on international standards and generally accepted good practices.
Also available in Spanish
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  • Acknowledgements
    The Handbook on Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism was fi nalized drawing on texts prepared by Yvon Dandurand (Dean of Research and Industry Liaison, University of the Fraser Valley, Canada; and Senior Associate, International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy) under a consultancy contract for the United Nations Offi ce on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
  • Introduction and legal context
    An effective and prevention-focused response to terrorism should include a strong criminal justice element: one that is guided by a normative legal framework and embedded in the core principles of the rule of law, due process and respect for human rights. Perpetrators of terrorist acts as defi ned in the universal legal instruments against terrorism are criminals, and they should therefore be dealt with by the criminal justice process as it is the most appro priate and fair mechanism to ensure that justice is achieved and that the rights of the accused are protected. In addition to this core function, criminal justice approaches to terrorism also provide for effective prevention mechanisms, including interventions that target the funding of terrorists and terrorist organizations and allow for the interception of conspiracies to commit attacks and the prohibition of incitement to terrorism.
  • Key components of an effective criminal justice response to terrorism
    An effective rule of law-based criminal justice response to terrorism involves more than the mere ratifi cation and implementation of the universal instruments against terrorism. In addition to the appropriate laws, policies and practices, criminal justice practitioners need ongoing capacity-building and specialized training to enable them to respond effectively to the increasingly complex nature of terrorist crimes.
  • Criminal justice accountability and oversight mechanisms
    The strength of the criminal justice response to terrorism resides in the fact that it is governed by the rule of law and remains accountable to the society in which it operates. The accountability of the system by means of the media and the political process needs to be reinforced by mechanisms that ensure the system’s transparency and are capable of addressing its weaknesses. Part three of the Handbook briefl y examines the processes that must be in place to ensure the accountability of the various components of the criminal justice system.
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