Saturday, April 21, 2018

Terrorism Financing

The Dean of the Qatar University College of Law Provides a Perspective

On April 16, 2018, Dr. Mohammed A Al-Khulaifi, Dean of the QU College of Law, wrote an op-ed piece for the Qatar Tribune, one of the English-language papers published in Qatar.   Entitled Terror Financing: A Crime that Requires Global Responses, Dr. Al-Khulaifi argued that regulating terror financing required a two-front approach: (1) supervising charitable contributions, and (2) preventing financial crimes or other illegal economic activities.

He posed two questions: (1) What are the international standards that are designed to prevent and combat financing terrorism?, and (2) How does the State of Qatar comply with these standards?

He then outlines the international framework for combating terrorism financing, including the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Terrorism (1937); the Convention on Offenses and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft (1963); the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005); the International Convention for the Suppression of Financing Terrorism (1999).

This last convention requires states to criminalize terrorism-related offenses in their domestic laws.

UN Security Council Resolutions 2178 and 1373 also seek to regulate terrorism financing.

The Arab world has also embraced conventions to control terrorism financing, including the Arab Convention of the Suppression of Terrorism (1998) and the Convention of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Combating International Terrorism (1999).

The UN's Global Counter Terrorism Strategy calls for five areas of focus: (1) dissuading disaffected groups from embracing terrorism; (2) denying groups or individuals the means to commit acts of terrorism; (3) making it difficult for states to support terrorist groups; (4) developing capabilities to defeat terrorism; and (5) defending human rights.

The editorial goes on to describe Qatar's compliance with international laws and standards.  For example, Qatar:

  • Is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).  I discuss the assessment of Qatar in the context of this task force here.
  • Ratified the International Convention for the Suppression of Financing Terrorism (1999).
  • Passed Law No. 3 of 2004 on Combating Terrorism, which the Emir updated by decree in 2017. 
  • Founded the Authority for Charitable Activities to regulate the activities of charitable institutions.
  • Established an Economic Crimes Combating Section at the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ministry of the Interior.
  • Passed Law No. 4 of 2010 on Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing.
  • Issued rules in 2010 to implement Law No. 4 of 2010 through the Qatar Financial Market Authority.
  • Organized the seventh conference of the International Association of Police Academies to discuss trends in combating terrorism.
  • Held the 23rd and 24th plenary meetings of the Middle East and North African Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF).
  • Signed a MOU with the U.S. in July 2017 enhancing counter-terrorism and intelligence sharing.
The editorial ends by listing the nine recommendations of the FAFT:
  • Implementing UN conventions and resolutions.
  • Criminalizing terrorism and its financing.
  • Confiscating the assets of terrorists.
  • Reporting suspicious activities.
  • Enhancing international cooperation.
  • Monitoring money transfers.
  • Scrutinizing wire transfers.
  • Supervising non-profits that may serve as funnels for money intended for terrorism.
  • Detecting cross-border transportation of money and negotiable instruments.
The Dean concludes by saying: "[O]ne should emphasize the importance of incorporating these nine recommendations in any governmental efforts to combat the crime of financing terrorism." 

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