DOJ/OPDAT Counterterrorism Programs
The work of the Counterterrorism Unit (CTU) assists DOJ in achieving its key strategic goal of countering terrorism, while also supporting efforts to build effective criminal justice sectors that respect the rule of law. The CTU works closely with the DOJ National Security Division and with the State Department's Office of the Coordinator for Counter Terrorism, through the interagency Terrorist Financing Working Group (TFWG). The CTU currently deploys Resident Legal Advisors (RLAs) to Bangladesh, Kenya, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, and additionally supports counter-terrorism programs throughout the world, including efforts in West Africa, Pakistan, Malaysia, Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
In Bangladesh, OPDAT supports the development of a comprehensive counterterrorism regime, with attendant strengthening of counterterrorism laws, practical implementation of anti-money laundering legislation, and improved law enforcement capacity to investigate and prosecute complex cases, including those involving terrorist organizations. OPDAT also promotes prosecutorial skills development, supports increased anti-corruption efforts, and has implemented extensive training programs for prosecutors and investigators. OPDAT efforts contributed to Bangladesh's signing of all twelve of the UN counterterrorism instruments, including the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Financing.
In Kenya,OPDAT has focused on increasing the capacity and expertise of the Kenyan prosecution service through a series of skills development programs and mentoring on investigating and prosecuting complex crimes. The OPDAT RLA program in Kenya assists in critical criminal justice sector development with a programmatic focus on counter terrorist financing, anti-corruption and procedural reform. The RLA's work has been valuable also in combating piracy off the Somali coast by increasing the criminal justice system's capacity to prosecute cases of this nature, i.e., transnational crimes involving foreign suspects and requiring cooperation with foreign law enforcement.
OPDAT, through its RLA program in the United Arab Emirates, has worked closely with prosecutors, judges, and other members of criminal justice systems in UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, particularly in the areas of money laundering and terrorist financing. These programs are designed to enhance capacity and promote sustainability of justice sector institutions in these areas.
In Pakistan, OPDAT has worked closely with provincial prosecution services to provide training opportunities for prosecutors, focusing particularly on case development and advocacy skills. OPDAT also supports efforts to implement money laundering, asset forfeiture, and terrorist financing legislation that is consistent with international standards, and to promote law enforcement capacity to pursue such cases. OPDAT also supports a wider variety of efforts designed to foster fundamental criminal justice reforms, including an expanded role of the judiciary.
In Turkey, OPDAT has worked closely with State Department, the U.S. Embassy, the Turkish Government, and the international community throughout Europe on methods to combat acts of violence supported or committed by the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) and other terrorist organizations. In addition, OPDAT has been worked in partnership with Turkey to implement anti-terrorist legislation, as well as to enhance its capability to effectively investigate and prosecute criminal cases involving the freezing/seizing of assets, financial fraud, and public corruption. Through the Turkey Program, OPDAT has also hosted regional exchange programs focusing on counterterrorism and border security for officials from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, and Macedonia.
In Malaysia, OPDAT supports the Government of Malaysia's efforts to implement and enforce its new export control law, the Strategic Trade Act of 2010. The new law is aimed at curbing the illegal transshipment of nuclear fuel, weapons parts, and other sensitive technology and equipment to Iran, North Korea, and non-state actors engaged in the production and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Nonproliferation and Export Enforcement: Since 2007, OPDAT has organized what is believed to be the first USG assistance work addressing the prosecution of proliferation and export/border control crimes (EXBS crimes). Until then, the criminal and regulatory training and assistance provided by the USG in this arena lacked a prosecutorial and judicial component. DOJ has since taken the lead in the training on prosecutorial techniques and skills. Through improved understanding of the prosecutorial and investigative needs of a successful nonproliferation and export/border control regime, these programs aim to enhance UN Security Resolution 1540 compliance and to advance the USG nonproliferation agenda by developing a prosecutorial capacity among partner states and familiarizing prosecutors and judges with the challenges associated with enforcing strategic trade control laws and best practices for dealing with them. OPDAT-organized delegations are led by DOJ prosecutors with experience prosecuting export control violations, and include Department of State EXBS advisors, and investigators from FBI, ICE, and the Commerce Department. OPDAT has conducted EXBS exchanges in the United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Argentina, and the Czech Republic.