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International Cooperation Against Terrorism and Links Between Terrorism and Other Criminal Activities in the Context of the Work of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2005
21 pages
This working paper prepared for the 11th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, held in Bangkok April 18-25, 2005, is intended to inform and stimulate discussion on the nature of the links between terrorism and other criminal activities in the context of the work of the United Nations (U.N.) Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the role of international cooperation in counterterrorism.
In 2003, the U.N. Secretariat surveyed member states to solicit information on the nature of links between terrorism and other forms of crime. Of the 60 responses received, many states indicated that terrorist groups were often involved in trafficking in illicit drugs and firearms, migrant smuggling, and involvement in other illegal markets. Also, a number of countries indicated links between terrorists and criminal activities related to corruption; money laundering; and the falsification of travel, identity, and other official documents. Some countries indicated links between terrorism and trafficking in potentially deadly materials. Such criminal activities provide financial support for terrorist activities. The methods used in these criminal activities are similar to those used by organized crime groups involved in these same activities, and in some cases terrorists cooperate with these groups. The work of UNODC with member states in strengthening the rule of law, promoting stable and viable criminal justice systems, and enhancing regional and international cooperation in countering transnational crime and criminal groups should assist in undermining the criminal fund-raising activities of terrorist groups, thus weakening their ability to launch terrorist attacks. Fourteen recommendations pertain to how U.N. member states, regional organizations, and the United Nations can improve their response to terrorism and transnational organized crime. 33 notes