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Service for Foreign Policy Instruments
News article20 March 2024Service for Foreign Policy Instruments2 min read

Judicial officials from MENA and EU strengthen anti-terrorism cooperation in Madrid

From February 26th to 29th, Madrid hosted a key gathering of over 50 officials from the Middle East, North Africa, and the European Union, aimed at reinforcing the fight against terrorism through enhanced judicial cooperation.

CT JUST Workshop in Madrid
European Commission

This meeting, which was also attended by institutional representatives of Spain, brought together representatives from the Arab League, Eurojust, and countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, and Tunisia, focusing on improving the coordination and institutional capacities in judicial cooperation against terrorism.

The event is part of the CT JUST project, an initiative funded by the European Union to promote international collaboration in the fight against terrorism. The project involves contributions from Spanish and French institutions, showcasing the international commitment to this cause.

A central discussion point at the event was the challenge of addressing the return of terrorists from areas experiencing jihadist conflicts and the prosecution of crimes committed outside of Europe's borders, emphasizing these issues as crucial to international anti-terrorism cooperation.

During the event, Ms. Maha Bakheet, Director General for Legal Cooperation and Counter-terrorism at the League of Arab States, highlighted the importance of collaboration between the Arab states and the EU: “The League of Arab States recognizes the importance of strengthening ties with the European Union in the fight against terrorism. This meeting represents a significant step in our common commitment to work together to ensure security and stability both in the countries that make up the League of Arab States and in the EU.”

CT JUST workshop
European Commission

Julián Cabrero López, a judge and the CT JUST project's key expert, underscored the necessity of effective communication and cooperation among justice and cooperation institutions: “Direct communication between counterparts in justice and cooperation institutions is essential to enhance effectiveness in identifying and arresting terrorists. By promoting cooperation between public institutions in the Middle East and North Africa region, we can share information in a more agile and coordinated way, which allows us to act more quickly and accurately against terrorist threats."

Held at the Ministry of Justice's headquarters, the sessions facilitated the development of mutual trust and the sharing of best practices among key figures from various countries' legal cooperation institutions.

The CT JUST project started in 2022 with the aim of increasing the capacities of authorities along the entire counter-terrorism criminal chain, contributing to the effective dismantling of terrorist and recruitment networks and ensuring reparation and dignity for victims. The project envisages three key lines of action to combat terrorist networks: fortifying the anti-terrorism legal framework, boosting preventive and operational efforts of involved institutions, and fostering essential multilateral and cross-border collaboration. This approach enables the sharing of insights, strengthens the fight against terrorism, and addresses its transnational challenges more effectively.

Key participants in the seminar included: Ms. Maha Bakheet, Director General for Legal Cooperation and Counter-terrorism at the League of Arab States; José María Fernández Villalobos, the CT JUST project director; Julián Cabrero López, CT JUST key expert; Ksenija Krizman, CEPOL; Mr. David Vilas Álvarez, Director General of International Legal Cooperation and Human Rights; Ms. Joana Antonia Ribeiro Gomes Ferreira, Director of the Department of Judicial Cooperation and International Relations of Portugal; and Mr. Enrique Gil Botero, Secretary-General of the Conference of Ministers of Justice of Ibero-American Countries (COMJIB), demonstrating the event's high level of international collaboration and commitment.


Publication date
20 March 2024
Service for Foreign Policy Instruments