Press Release: Enabling the Safe Return of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs) and Associated Family Members from Northeast Syria – UNGA 78

Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Richard R. Verma, United States, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, Republic of Iraq, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Ted Chaiban, and other distinguished experts and government representatives will highlight the ongoing humanitarian and security crisis in the detention facilities and at al-Hol and Roj displaced persons camps in northeast Syria.

This United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 78) side event is hosted by the United States Department of State, in partnership with the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ)

Westin Grand Central Hotel on September 20, 3:30 pm

Open press and on the record remarks 3:30-4:15pm

Limited seats and pooling available for Press

Zoom Webinar also available:

New York, NY, USA: The side event will address the important security and humanitarian implications of ISIS detention facilities and al-Hol and Roj displaced persons camps from those displaced after the 2019 territorial defeat of ISIS in northeast Syria. Countries will discuss solutions to the challenges to repatriation and returns, as well as rehabilitation, reintegration, and where applicable, prosecution.

Some quotes:

At the June Defeat-ISIS Coalition Ministerial in Riyadh, Secretary Blinken underscored that the status quo in northeast Syria is “unsustainable” and urged countries to take a more active role in addressing the dire humanitarian, human rights, and security conditions in al-Hol and Roj camps and SDF detention centers through repatriations and stabilization support in communities of return.

 Blinken: Islamic State Fight ‘Not Yet Done’ (

In a fireside chat in April, Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the U.S. Department of State Ian Moss highlighted the security concerns of the detained fighters: “Ten thousand ISIS fighters remain in custody there, which is the largest concentration of detained terrorists anywhere in the world.  ISIS continues to look for new opportunities to replenish its ranks by trying to free these detained fighters.  If they escape, they will pose a threat not only to northeast Syria and the region but to our homelands.”

Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism Ian Moss Fireside Chat with Matthew Levitt | StateNewswire (

After her six-day visit to northeast Syria, UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights Fionnuala D.Ní Aoláin said, “We cannot hold 10,000 people in a box where no one sees what happens to them and their children, it is fundamentally unacceptable by any measure of a civilised and humane treatment of persons in a condition of detention.

Children forcibly separated from mothers at Syria’s Al Hol, warns top rights expert | UN News

“It is crucial to enhance mutual understanding of the challenges associated with prosecuting repatriated nationals from northeast Syria. Further international dialogue can help provide opportunities to learn from countries that have successfully prosecuted nationals they have repatriated, giving those considering repatriation and those continuing to repatriate nationals the tools and contacts they need to do so successfully.”

The IIJ Executive Secretary, Steven Hill, following the last FTF Event organized by the IIJ in Malta, May 2023.

Additional Material For Press:

Between 2011 and 2019, tens of thousands of people left more than 60 countries to fight for the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).  Today, approximately 2,000 ISIS foreign fighters remain in detention facilities operated by the non-state Syrian Democratic Forces in northeast Syria. The situation presents significant national security and humanitarian concerns that threaten regional and global security.

The United States seeks to mitigate threats posed by detained ISIS fighters to prevent an ISIS resurgence.  To date, the United States has facilitated dozens of repatriation operations of detained fighters and associated family members from northeast Syria (NES) to their countries of origin and provided technical advice and assistance to many countries investigating, prosecuting, incarcerating, rehabilitating, and reintegrating their nationals.  

At the al–Hol camp, roughly 50% of residents are under 12 years of age.  Unless action is taken, they will continue to suffer hardship.  Displaced persons, particularly children, require basic life support services and advanced psychosocial support, which cannot be effectively provided in NES.

The situation in NES presents severe humanitarian and local, regional, and international security concerns. Conditions in the camps limit the provision of humanitarian aid and political dynamics in northeast Syria make it challenging for countries to visit and to repatriate their nationals.  The United States supports efforts to encourage and facilitate repatriations of fighters and associated family members from NES. The United States’ position is that repatriations are the most durable solution to the ongoing security and humanitarian crisis in NES and encourages countries of origin to repatriate, rehabilitate, reintegrate, and prosecute where appropriate, FTFs and associated family members.

Rehabilitating and reintegrating those who return to their countries of origin from Syria – whether or not they serve prison time – is vital to addressing the cycles of violence and radicalization to violence by ISIS.   From Morocco to Indonesia, the United States supports programs that reduce the likelihood that people who return from northeast Syria will continue to support terrorism.  The United States also lends its expertise to interested countries of origin in the development of good practices for effective rehabilitation and reintegration of FTFs and associated family members.  The United States supports the inclusion of language in counterterrorism-related UN resolutions that recognize the need for UN Member States to develop effective strategies to deal with returnees. 

The risk of an ISIS resurgence in NES far outweighs the risks posed by FTFs and associated family members once repatriated.   Recognizing this, the United States will continue to offer support to countries of origin to effectively manage their repatriation efforts. As Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism Ian Moss said, “We cannot ignore our way out of this problem.  We must continue to leverage our counterterrorism cooperation to repatriate the remaining foreign fighters while also mitigating the risks.” 

One of the IIJ’s main initiatives is The Returning Foreign Terrorist Fighters (RFTFs) Initiative, which works with policy-makers and practitioners at the local and national levels to adopt and implement coherent policies that foster an inter-agency approach to the rehabilitation and reintegration of terrorist fighters. The initiative helps implement the GCTF’s “Hague-Marrakech Memorandum on Good Practices for a More Effective Response to the FTF Phenomenon,” as well as UN Security Council Resolution 2178.

Although launched in 2015 to focus on FTFs, those combatants who came from other countries to fight, the project pivoted in response to the evolution of the global threat, shifting to focus on returning FTFs, or those fighters who returned from conflict zones to their home countries. Under this Initiative, with support from the Government of the Netherlands, the IIJ spearheaded an important multi-phased program to assist the Governments of Chad and Mali in adapting the Hague-Marrakech Memorandum to their national security contexts. Other projects under this Initiative have supported actions in relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and implementation of the GCTF’s “Good Practices on Addressing the Challenge of Returning Families of Foreign Terrorist Fighters.” The IIJ concluded its work with Chad and Mali and remains committed to assisting both countries in their efforts to include rehabilitation and reintegration programs for terrorist fighters in their national CVE strategies.

Visual identity:

Press Contacts:

Ali Khair

Communication and Outreach Manager, IIJ:

Parvina Abduvohobova

Programme Manager, IIJ:

Remarks on the Integrated Border Stability Mechanism for West Africa (ISBM)

Steven Hill
Executive Secretary
International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law

I would like to thank UNODC, UNOCT, IOM and Germany for inviting me to take part in this important discussion regarding the Integrated Border Stability Mechanism (IBSM) for West Africa. Like all of you gathered here, the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law, or IIJ, is committed to advancing the rule of law, justice, security, and human rights in the context of countering terrorism and transnational organized crime, with particular focus on the countries of West Africa. Border security and stability are integral to all the work we collectively do.

First, a bit of background. The IIJ was established in 2014 and one of three institutions inspired by the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF). Some of our 12 founding members and the European Union are present today, as well as many GCTF members and active supporters and partners of the IIJ, including Japan.

Our mandate is to provide rule of law-based training to lawmakers, police, prosecutors, judges, corrections officials, and other justice sector stakeholders on how to address terrorism and related transnational organized crime. The IIJ also works to strengthen criminal justice systems and build regional judicial, police and other criminal justice practitioner networks to promote justice, security and human rights.

Our work is non-political, technical, practitioner-focused, and based on a peer-to-peer approach. We have a committed 30-person team, from 20 different nationalities, with a range of senior criminal justice practitioners from countries across the globe. From its inception in 2014, in addition to Middle East and Southeast Asia, the IIJ has focused a substantial portion of its work in Africa and especially West Africa, establishing long-lasting partnerships with practitioners and other organizations – including IOM, UNODC and UNOCT — to support effective criminal justice responses to terrorism. Though border security has never been the singular focus of any of our wide range of programs, nearly all of the work we do impacts, and is impacted, by strong border security. Thank you for the opportunity to explain how.

Let me start with a basic precept that brings us all together today: terrorism is a uniquely cross-border phenomenon — the way fighters are recruited, terrorist groups are structured, supplies are furnished, funds are raised, attacks are committed against victims from various nationalities and propaganda is shared is almost inherently transnational. This necessarily means that the way criminal justice practitioners combat terrorism must be equally transversal — how evidence is gathered and shared, cases built, witnesses and victims identified and protected, and defendants found and held accountable. This is exactly how the IIJ contributes to the fight against terrorism – by equipping practitioners with the skills to investigate and prosecute cases with international dimensions.

Let me give you some examples.

Since it was created in 2020, our Academic Unit has offered intensive HR and RoL based core courses Counter Terrorism Academic Curriculum (in French, programme de perfectionnement Contre- terrorisme : Approfondissement des compétences, CTAC).

These tailored, intensive and subregional courses are focusing on counter-terrorism investigative skills for selected women and men,mid-level to senior practitioners, reinforcing the skills essential to holding terrorists accountable. Integral to these curricula is collaborative and inter-agency approach, coordination at a national basis (from capitals to borders) to strengthen cross-border cooperation (police-to-police, justice-to-justice) and the effective use of cross border instruments and platforms (including G5 Sahel, Interpol for instance) at every relevant stage of a case, whether collecting evidence, victims or suspects. This is also a way to develop subregional dynamic professional networks within our Alumni, to facilitate cooperation across boarders in due respect of State sovereignty.

We have now offered the CTAC course, and its online eCTAC component, to practitioners from up to12 countries in West Africa and Sahel in their working language (Arabic, English or French). More broadly, we are currently working with 23 countries in North, East, Central, and West Africa. We have just Monday launched our first ever CTAC for West African Francophone trial judges , alongside another iteration of our CTAC for prosecutors and investigative judges from West Africa.

As an institution, through our own activities, via our internal expertise as well as within our alumni network, we also actively participate in various fora with partners to strengthen some key points mentioned during this inaugural meeting, such as last June the fight against proliferation and use of weapons, ammunitions and IEDs during the last (GCTF) West Africa Working Group Meeting in Togo or to promote cooperative platforms during the Twelfth plenary meeting of the West African Central Authorities and Prosecutors’ Network (WACAP) held in Banjul (Gambia).

Our Monitoring and evaluation assessments show that all these skills and knowledge are transferable in various transnational issues such as arms smuggling, drugs trafficking or human trafficking and are, as I mentioned earlier, directly linked to strengthening cooperative border governance and security in areas strategically relevant for regional stability for neighbouring countries.

Our Programmatic Unit builds upon and expands these skills with a wide range of programs that address both foundational competencies common to all CT investigations, as well as specific aspects of the fight against terrorism. For instance, we have a lengthy history of working with practitioners on mutual legal assistance, helping to improve the way evidence is shared across international borders. This includes the expertise to determine when evidence from another country is important to a case, and the skills necessary to make the full range of informal, law-enforcement-to-law-enforcement and diplomatic requests for that evidence.

But our work on MLA goes way beyond that. We’ve drafted guiding principles on how to establish a central authority, which is the national mechanism to manage international evidence exchange, and have run a series of regional programs to disseminate it. By way of examplse from other sub-regions of Africa, we’ve recently offered a program for Tanzania, Mozambique and Malawi to improve how they address shared security problems along their common borders. We helped Senegal draft the first wholesale revision of its MLA law since 1971. And we’re actively helping Somalia develop its first ever domestic legislation to create a mechanism for MLA and extradition. What could be more central to strong border stability than a plan for addressing shared cross-border challenges and a rule-of-law based mechanism for exchanging evidence to hold wrong-doers accountable?

As I mentioned, we also offer a wide range of programming on specific aspects of terrorism, always raising awareness of, and building skills to effectively investigate and prosecute, the cross-border dimensions. For example, we’ve run a very well-received series of programs on sexual violence as a weapon of terrorism, the very first of which was in Burkina Faso in partnership with the Ministry of Gender. This initiative looks at how terrorist organizations use sexual violence as a strategic tool to recruit fighters, humiliate and condition resistors, destabilize communities, and spawn the next generation of fighters.

But it also focuses on the junction of sexual violence and human trafficking, whereby terrorist groups sell a portion of their sexual violence victims across borders to raise funds for terrorist operations. Raising practitioner awareness of these operating tactics, reinforcing their ability to detect and stop cross-border human trafficking of sexual violence victims and others, and equipping them with the tools to hold wrong-doers responsible directly impacts regional border security.

Over the last two years, the IIJ has also launched a new initiative to combat the financing of terrorism. Rather than duplicating introductory programming that others have already offered, we’ve dived right into the details, working with countries in West Africa to address deficiencies noted in their FATF audits. This has included, most notably, a series of sub-regional workshops in Cote d’Ivoire on how terrorist organizations exploit cash-rich businesses and the non-profit sector to launder funds and finance their operations.

For money laundering to be successful, dirty funds must move from where they are raised, through legitimate operations, to where they are needed. In the terrorism context, this almost always involves transport of laundered funds across international boundaries, often physically through bulk cash smuggling. IIJ programs bring together investigators and prosecutors, regulatory officials, regional financial bodies like the Egmont Group, and private sector to understand these criminal trends, discuss shared challenges and find practical solutions. Because the more they collectively understand how money is made, laundered and moved, the better they can protect businesses and non-profits from exploitation and detect abuse when they see it. And criminal justice practitioners who have the capacity to build terrorist finance cases based on illegal movement of funds have a direct impact on the amount of dirty money that moves across borders.

Finally, I would like to highlight also The Counter-Terrorism Platform for Human Rights Engagement (CT PHARE), a new global facility funded by the European Union’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI), which of course includes West Africa. CT PHARE’s objective is to increase the degree to which states’ counter-terrorism policies, legislation, day-today investigation, prosecution and judicial strategies comply with European and internationally recognised human rights standards which contribute to the collaborative approach with our partners. This is also a way to support African Union and ISBSM objective on this positive potential of borders “as vectors to promote peace, security, and stability, and to improve and accelerate integration through effective governance of borders while facilitating easy movement of people, goods, services and capital among AU Member States”.

This is just a sampling of the types of programs the IIJ offers; I haven’t mentioned, for instance, our significant work on juvenile justice in the context of terrorism, collection and use of battlefield evidence, and an ever-expanding range of other topics linked to the fight against terrorism. I hope this helps illustrate, however, how IIJ programming helps reinforce the integrated safety net at West Africa’s borders by training professionals to understand, investigate and prosecute terrorism and other cross-border crime. The IIJ is supportive of the Integrated Border Stability Mechanism for West Africa launched today to further improve international coordination and collaboration for enhanced integrated border management capacity development in West Africa, including through our dynamic IIJ Alumni network. On behalf of the entire team at the IIJ, I commend you all on your efforts to improve border safety and stability in the region, and re-iterate our commitment to working with you all as part of long-term regional solutions.

MOC between the IIJ and UNAFEI

Our Executive Secretary, Mr. Steven Hill signed, in Vienna, a Memorandum of Cooperation between the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law and the United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFEI).

With this memorandum, we express our commitment to establishing a mutually beneficial working relationship with the UNAFEI, involving cooperation and exchange of information and expertise aimed at providing continuous education and training programmes on criminal justice.

The UNAFEI was established with the aim of promoting the sound development of criminal justice systems and mutual cooperation, primarily in the Asia and Pacific Regions. The activities of UNAFEI focus on training courses and seminars for personnel in crime prevention and criminal justice administration, and the research and study of crime prevention and the treatment of offenders.

Given the overlap between several of our guiding principles, and the scope of our activities, our cooperation promises to provide both institutions with a more extensive network of expertise pertinent to our aligning missions, resulting in overall enhanced capacity-building activities for both Parties.
We endeavour to increase information exchange, collaborate in identifying, collecting and disseminating best practices, lessons learned, and research findings expertise to strengthen the rule of law-based criminal justices’ responses to countering transnational threats and challenges including but not limited to terrorism and violent extremism, and we will explore opportunities for joint research activities on topics of mutual interest.

We welcome UNAFEI to attend workshops, meetings, conferences, and other events that we organise which are relevant to the subject matter of this MoC, and we will explore opportunities to jointly convene workshops, conferences or other meetings on topics and mutually-agreed issues.

We continue to recognise the importance and necessity of international collaboration to identify and address trends, needs and gaps ensuring the effective and efficient delivery of sustainable, impactful and practical capacity-building assistance in criminal justice, and the present Memorandum of Cooperation with the UNAFEI is yet another step towards the critical goal of enhanced international collaboration in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice.

Global Counterterrorism Forum 21st GCTF Coordinating Committee Meeting

Remarks of Steven Hill, Executive Secretary, International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law

4 May 2023 – Cairo

I would like to thank GCTF Co-Chairs Egypt and the European Union for the opportunity for the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ) to brief GCTF members on the status of the IIJ’s work. I would like to congratulate Morocco on its recently concluded service as GCTF Co-Chair.

The IIJ’s mandate is to work with criminal justice practitioners – judges, prosecutors, investigators, police, and others as well as policy makers – to help build their capacity to handle cases involving counterterrorism in line with the rule of law and human rights.

Our work is non-political, technical, practitioner-focused, and based on a peer-to-peer approach. Our 30-person team based in Malta includes a range of practitioners such as the former counterterrorism chief prosecutor from Niger as well as senior criminal justice practitioners from several other countries.

Given this orientation, we welcome the plan of the Co-Chairs to identify and address the needs of practitioners as a core element of their strategy for a revitalized GCTF.

Since its inception in 2014, the IIJ has worked with over 8000 participants from 125 countries.

In 2022, the IIJ organised 27 capacity-building activities with a wide range of thematic and geographic areas of focus. We worked with a total of 905 practitioners. 33% were women and 67% were men. Striving toward gender parity is an important goal for the IIJ, and we have more work to do.

Africa has always historically been, and continues to be, a main geographic focus region for the IIJ. Of the practitioners with whom the IIJ worked in 2022, 495 or 55 percent originated from 35 African countries. 25% were women and 75% were men.

Since the last Coordinating Committee meeting in September 2022, we have organized three longer-form core courses and 10 shorter-form focused programmes. We have also launched the EU-funded Counterterrorism Platform for Human Rights Engagement (CT PHARE) project, which is focused at

putting human rights at the core of action against terrorism. The activities feature a focus on the implementation of GCTF documents.

All of these activities are inclusive, practitioner-focused, designed to maximize effectiveness, and carefully monitored through a data-driven approach. They illustrate not only the depth of our commitment to working with criminal justice practitioners, especially from Africa, but also the range of international partners with which we collaborate as well as our commitment to working with civil society.

Since September 2022, we have offered our core course – the Counter-Terrorism Academic Curriculum (CTAC) – to cohorts of judges, prosecutors, and investigators from francophone African countries, Arabic-speaking countries, and Southeast Asian countries. This month, we will begin this course for anglophone African practitioners. So far, these specialized courses have included about 130 mid- to senior-level counterterrorism practitioners from 21 countries in North, Central, East, and West Africa, including 25% of women.

Other programmes have focused on a wide range of topics of relevance to practitioners. I will mention a selection of these programmes here.

In collaboration with UNODC, Interpol, and GIABA, we organised three programmes in a new initiative to combat terrorist financing. These gathered practitioners first from 10 countries in West Africa, and later from the Middle East and North Africa region, to discuss how terrorist groups exploit the non-profit sector and other cash-dependent entities to finance their operations.

We also offered three regional programmes on the investigation and prosecution of sexual violence linked to terrorism, working with UNODC, the Dennis Mukwege Foundation, the Special Tribunal in the Central African Republic and a range of other specialists on the matter.

We also gathered first French-speaking civil law practitioners in Burkina Faso, then English-speaking common law practitioners in Malawi and Uganda, to understand the unique challenges associated with investigating and prosecuting this type of crime. So far, these specialized courses gathered about 130 mid to senior-level CT practitioners from 21 countries of North, Central, West and East Africa, including 25% women.

We also launched our first regional programme on Excessive Pre-Trial Detention in West Africa, welcoming practitioners from 10 countries in the region to Benin to discuss this pressing procedural issue, which has very significant human rights implications. The debate was enriched by a range of civil society actors.

And we undertook three programmes on international judicial cooperation in Kenya and Somalia, working with UNODC, the EU’s mission in Somalia, and others.

All of these activities start with an assessment of practitioner needs to ensure the programmes are topical and relevant. They also engage practitioners not only in the development and design of our activities, but in their delivery. Recognizing and reinforcing the breadth of local expertise is central to our approach.

Our work is flexible and responsive to practitioners’ needs, including as these needs change with the evolving nature of the threat of terrorism. For example, we have on several occasions paused programme implementation to take stock of evolving requirements and adjust our work accordingly.

As implementing partner, we recently worked with Italy and Nigeria to organize the Plenary Meeting of the Criminal Justice and Rule of Law (CJROL) Working group took place in Malta on 27 April 2023. This Plenary Meeting was an opportunity to present and highlight this working group’s main priority areas and for us at the IIJ also an opportunity to introduce one of the deliverables that the IIJ is working on under the CT PHARE project: a Survey on the Right to a Fair Trial in Counterterrorism Cases.

Finally, our network of approximately 8000 alumni practitioners represents a true resource for understanding practitioners’ perspectives. We have recently completed a survey of our alumni to identify subjects that would be most helpful to them in their work.

Three of our alumni– from the Central African Republic, Mozambique, and Uganda – shared their perspectives with you during yesterday’s panel. We are grateful for their willingness to be with us for this discussion, which was an explain of the peer-to-peer approach that often generates insights and learning for all involved.

In conclusion, the IIJ’s unique, practitioner-focused way of working has not only enabled us to succeed so far, but also represents our valued added proposition in supporting the GCTF’s priorities in the years to come.

We are grateful for the generous support for the sustainability of the IIJ’s work as a GCFT Inspired Institution provided to date. This support can come in a variety of forms including financial contributions, secondments of personnel, contribution of subject matter experts to events, and other ways of ensuring that we can continue to support the GCTF in its important work.

The IIJ team is looking forward to work with the GCTF co-chairs, the CJROL co- chairs and other working groups as relevant on the priorities and is thrilled by the enhanced focus on Africa.

Opening Remarks by Steven Hill REMVE: Radicalisation in the Ranks


As part of our Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremism (REMVE) initiative, we hosted in Malta a roundtable focused on radicalisation within the security services’ ranks. This constitutes an important element of our efforts to develop the first-ever guide for criminal justice practitioners to counter REMVE, which we launched almost two years ago.

Ian Moss, Steven Hill and Gail Malone.

The event is personally important to me, due to my previous assignments at the U.S. National Security Council and NATO, and I am glad that we had an incredible group of experts joining us. Our participants included practitioners, policymakers, as well as non-governmental experts. The presence and commitment of our guest participants is a testament to the importance of the topic and the determination of everyone involved in making a difference.

As a nonpartisan multinational organisation, the IIJ is a platform for discussion that encourages intercultural dialogue in the development of capacity-building of criminal justice practitioners respecting Human Rights and the Rule of Law. With 13 Board Members and 30 staff members, we are a relatively small but highly dynamic institution. We have received funding from a wide range of donors – including the US, UK, Germany, Australia, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Italy, Canada, the EU, and now Kuwait – and our mission has always been to bring criminal justice and security professionals together on topics related to how to fight terrorism in line with human rights and the rule of law.

We offer a wide range of both foundational courses and more advanced workshops. We also offer programs that lend strategic support and assist in policy development. Further, in a growing set of disciplines, including battlefield evidence and REMVE, we use our convening authority and subject matter expertise to sponsor forums for expert exchange, such as this one.

The REMVE has been a core IIJ topic for over three years. We started work on the initiative in 2019 with series of expert group meetings, and, in 2020 and 2021, we conducted trends analysis to explore the rapidly changing landscape and identify the most pressing topics. In 2021, we also launched and distributed a REMVE Practitioners Guide, which is now available in six languages. Since then, we have held a series of tailored technical programs to analyse specific, emerging and complex threats and vulnerabilities.

In October 2022, we organised a programme in London, where we gathered researchers, academics, criminal justice practitioners, tech experts, and policy makers. The programme focused on online radicalisation, particular vulnerability of youth as a class, and links between radicalisation and specific subsets of youth, including the neurodiverse. Each REMVE programme aims to advance our collective understanding of the rapidly evolving radicalisation landscape as well as to identify tools to help address it.

The IIJ signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kuwait Institute for Judicial and Legal Studies

On 6 December 2022, the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law and Kuwait Institute for Judicial and Legal Studies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Kuwait to establish a strategic cooperation framework between both Institutes.

This MoU will enhance collaborations to support criminal justice practitioners’ responses to counter terrorism and violent extremism with a rule of law and human rights context.

On signing the MoU, IIJ Executive Secretary Steven Hill said “The IIJ is grateful for the support of the Government of Kuwait as a member of the Governing Board of Administrators. This MoU sheds light on  the IIJ’s efforts to expand its network of partnerships with like-minded Institutes to further support our practitioners in their work.”

The IIJ welcomes Minister Ian Borg to Valletta headquarters during official visit

On 30 November 2022, the IIJ Executive Secretariat welcomed Hon. Dr. Ian Borg, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade, accompanied by Mr. Christopher Cutajar, Permanent Secretary for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade to the IIJ’s headquarters at the University of Malta in Valletta. 

During his visit, the Minister met with newly appointed IIJ Executive Secretary Mr. Steven Hill, Unit Directors and IIJ staff members and thanked the IIJ for the impactful work, noting that Malta was proud to host the Institute. 

Mr. Hill thanked the Minister for his visit to the IIJ and expressed his gratitude to the Government of Malta for the continued support and commitment to the IIJ mission and vision. Since the IIJ’s inception in 2014, Malta has provided a neutral learning environment where sensitive topics can be discussed in a constructive manner, and its central location in the Mediterranean has made it accessible for participants from across Africa, the Middle East, and other regions.

New Executive Secretary for the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law

The International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ) is pleased to announce that its Governing Board of Administrators has appointed Steven Hill as Executive Secretary.

Mr. Hill brings a wealth of experience to the IIJ after more than 20 years of public service in support of justice and the rule of law at national and multinational levels. In his previous role, he served as the Director for Global Criminal Justice and Multilateral Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House in Washington. Prior to this role, Mr Hill served for six years as the chief legal advisor to the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Brussels.

Mr. Hill has extensive experience in international law and cooperation at the multilateral and bilateral levels. He has previously worked as Counselor for Legal Affairs at the United States Mission to the United Nations in New York, where he represented the Government of the United States on a wide range of issues in the Security Council and General Assembly and served on the supervisory boards of several international tribunals. He also led the legal unit at the International Civilian Office, European Union Special Representative in Kosovo, where his work focused on advising and building the capacity of local authorities.

“I am looking forward to starting this new journey at the IIJ,” Mr. Hill said, “The IIJ is a unique platform that helps build the capacity of practitioners such as prosecutors, judges, and others who play essential roles in countering the evolving threats of contemporary terrorism, violent extremism and transnational crime in different regions of the world” he added.

Aside from his work as a practitioner, Mr. Hill frequently teaches, lectures, and publishes international law and national security topics. He has served on the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law as well as expert groups on a wide range of international law issues. He is a member of the New York bar.

Announcement of Executive Director Transition

The International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ) announces that Thomas Wuchte will depart from his role as Executive Secretary after more than 5 years at the helm.

The IIJ Governing Board of Administrators (GBA) thanked Mr. Wuchte for his exceptional leadership during his tenure. Through his efforts the IIJ developed into an internationally recognized training institute for criminal justice practitioners, doubling the size of the staff, extending the geographic scope of engagement to include Asia, Africa, and Europe, training over 5,000 practitioners, establishing a one-of-a-kind Academic Unit, and expanding the donor base and institutional partnerships.

Mr. Wuchte said “It has been my great privilege to lead the IIJ for the past 5 years alongside an incredibly talented group of staff. I am proud of our achievements and impact across the IIJ’s focus regions. As the threat of terrorism, violent extremism, and related transnational crime continues to evolve, we have set strong foundations for the IIJ to serve as a trusted and reliable resource within partner governments, in cooperation with our dedicated practitioners, and civil society to collaborate together while facing these challenges in their daily work.”

Mr. Wuchte leaves the IIJ on 11 November 2022. The new Executive Secretary, appointed by the IIJ Governing Board, is taking up his assignment and will be introduced in a separate correspondence.

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