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Cooperation Among Ministries of Internal Affairs of CIS Member States in the Fight Against Terrorism and Other Manifestations of Extremism

Igor L. Dimitrov*

Main Administration for Legal Work and External Affairs, Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs


Having directly encountered the problems caused by the process of the breakup of the USSR, field personnel from internal affairs agencies and other law enforcement structures were the first to conclude that joint efforts and coordinated actions are required in the fight against crime, which recognizes no boundaries. Therefore, measures to create an organizational-legal basis for cooperation with colleagues from neighboring states were undertaken right at the interagency level.

As early as the first meeting of internal affairs ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) member countries, which took place in Almaty in April 1992, participants signed an Agreement on Cooperation among the internal affairs ministries of the various independent states in the fight against crime. This treaty outlined the commitments of the parties first to work jointly to combat gangsterism, terrorism, and international crime and second to create a coordinating body, the Conference of Internal Affairs Ministers (SMVD).

At the same time, because the conference could not function on a continual basis, the Office for the Coordination of the Fight Against Organized Crime and Other Dangerous Types of Crime on the Territory of CIS Participant-States (BKBOP) was created on September 24, 1993. This action was taken on the initiative of the conference and on the basis of a resolution of the Council of CIS Heads of Government. This structure essentially became the working arm of the SMVD and began regularly coordinating all areas of the fight against crime, including crime of a terrorist nature. Thus, the organizational-legal foundations for interagency cooperation in this field were successfully created at that time.

*

Translated from the Russian by Kelly Robbins.



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Cooperation Among Ministries of Internal Affairs of CIS Member States in the Fight Against Terrorism and Other Manifestations of Extremism Igor L. Dimitrov * Main Administration for Legal Work and External Affairs, Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs Having directly encountered the problems caused by the process of the breakup of the USSR, field personnel from internal affairs agencies and other law enforcement structures were the first to conclude that joint efforts and coor- dinated actions are required in the fight against crime, which recognizes no boundaries. Therefore, measures to create an organizational-legal basis for coop- eration with colleagues from neighboring states were undertaken right at the interagency level. As early as the first meeting of internal affairs ministers of the Common- wealth of Independent States (CIS) member countries, which took place in Al- maty in April 1992, participants signed an Agreement on Cooperation among the internal affairs ministries of the various independent states in the fight against crime. This treaty outlined the commitments of the parties first to work jointly to combat gangsterism, terrorism, and international crime and second to create a coordinating body, the Conference of Internal Affairs Ministers (SMVD). At the same time, because the conference could not function on a continual basis, the Office for the Coordination of the Fight Against Organized Crime and Other Dangerous Types of Crime on the Territory of CIS Participant-States (BK- BOP) was created on September 24, 1993. This action was taken on the initiative of the conference and on the basis of a resolution of the Council of CIS Heads of Government. This structure essentially became the working arm of the SMVD and began regularly coordinating all areas of the fight against crime, including crime of a terrorist nature. Thus, the organizational-legal foundations for inter- agency cooperation in this field were successfully created at that time. * Translated from the Russian by Kelly Robbins. 

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 RUSSIAN VIEWS ON COUNTERING TERRORISM The question of the need to intensify cooperation in the fight against terror- ism given the situations developing in the Caucasus and Central Asia was first raised separately at the April 1996 regular meeting of the Council of Ministers of Internal Affairs of CIS Member States in Dushanbe. As a result of discussion of these problems, participants in the meeting adopted a resolution consisting of practically 30 points, which specifically stipulated the following: • Identifying within each ministry an agency responsible for coordinating antiterrorist activities within the framework of the ministries of internal affairs, with the BKBOP to be informed of this selection as soon as possible; • Ensuring the systematic exchange of operational and other information about uncovered or developing terrorist organizations and individuals inclined to commit terrorist acts or involved in the manufacture of explosive devices; • Carrying out coordinated activities to work out plans of actions to be taken to prevent and suppress terrorist acts; • Instituting measures to discover and suppress the channels by which ille- gal armed formations, organized crime societies, and individuals obtain money and other assistance used in the commission of terrorist acts; • Carrying out in 1996-1997 a comprehensive inventory of rifles in the possession of enterprises, organizations, institutions, and citizens as well as a listing of locations where explosive materials are stored, with operational cover- age to be ensured regarding these locations; and • Developing a standard checklist for urgent actions to be taken by duty officers of internal affairs agencies when reacting to cases of terrorism. It should be noted that a substantial amount of joint work was done in implementing the stipulations of this document, and the results of this work were summarized at the June 1998 meeting of the council in Tashkent. The next notable step in the strengthening of cooperation in this sphere was the resolution “On Cooperation in the Struggle Against Crimes of an Extremist Nature Committed on Religious Grounds,” which was adopted during the next regular SMVD meeting in Moscow in December 1998. This resolution calls for carrying out a whole series of specific joint activities in this regard. The Kiev meeting of the council on October 1, 1999, saw the passage of the resolution “On Combating Terrorism on the Territory of CIS Member States” and the Appeal to Heads of State and Heads of Government of CIS Countries. The first document stipulated the establishment of a Provisional Anti-terrorist Center under the auspices of BKBOP, with the new center to be given the func- tions of coordinating the activities of internal affairs agencies in combating ter- rorism and other manifestations of extremism. This unit was soon in fact created. The second document specifically called for the Council of CIS Heads of State to take a top-priority look at the problems of combating international terrorism. In Moscow on January 25, 2000, the leaders of the CIS countries reviewed

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 HIGH IMPACT TERRORISM these questions and adopted a resolution that later served as the basis for the passage of the Program of CIS Member States to Combat International Terror- ism and Other Manifestations of Extremism through 2003. The resolution also created the CIS Antiterrorist Center (a representative of SMVD was appointed first deputy director of the center). It should be emphasized that the same day saw the adoption of the Intergovernmental Program of Joint Measures to Fight Crime for 2000 through 2003, which was developed with our active participa- tion. Among other elements, the program calls for carrying out targeted inter- agency operational-preventive activities and special operations to suppress acts of terrorism and other manifestations of extremism. The Council of Ministers of Internal Affairs met for the next time in Mos- cow on March 10, 2000, with the meeting being devoted entirely to issues re- garding the strengthening of cooperation in the antiterrorist sphere. At the meet- ing, participants passed the appropriate resolutions, in particular calling for the following: • Preparation of a multilateral interagency agreement on fighting terrorism and other manifestations of extremism; • The regular holding of coordinated operational search and prevention exercises, especially the special operations entitled “Border-Barrier”; • The holding of joint training exercises for special militia (police) units and internal affairs troops to work out coordinated actions in the struggle against acts of terrorism; • The facilitation of close interaction in the development and contracted provision of special means, technology, and equipment for carrying out antiter- rorist activity; and • The exchange on the basis of mutual agreement of specialists to render consultative and other assistance in the fight against terrorism. The next meeting of SMVD, which was held in Cholpon-Ata in September 2000, saw the signing of the Agreement on Cooperation Among Internal Affairs Ministers in the Fight Against Terrorism. Participants also adopted correspond- ing resolutions aimed primarily at the full and absolute implementation of the above-mentioned intergovernmental programs. A council plan for carrying out these programs was later prepared and approved, and implementation of the plan has already been discussed at the regular SMVD meeting held in Yerevan in June 2001 (the appropriate joint resolutions were also passed as a result of con- sideration of this question). In noting the basic stages in the development of cooperation on the given issue among the internal affairs agencies of the CIS countries within the frame- work of such multilateral bodies as the SMVD and BKBOP, one should also mention the very important work being done by other organizations. These in- clude the “Borzhomi Four” (the Conference of Internal Affairs Ministers of Az-

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 RUSSIAN VIEWS ON COUNTERING TERRORISM erbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, and Russia), the “Bishkek Group” (the Conference of Leaders of Law Enforcement Agencies and Intelligence Services from the “Shanghai Five” Countries), and the Conference of Internal Affairs Ministers of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization member states, as well as activities being conducted through the International Criminal Police Organiza- tion (Interpol). The notable role played by bilateral coordinating institutes—for example joint boards—should also be mentioned. At present, such Russian Internal Affairs Ministry boards have been created with the internal affairs ministries of Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, and Tajikistan. For instance, within the framework of the Russian-Belarusan Joint Board, a Program of Joint Measures to Combat Terrorism and Other Manifestations of Extremism for 2000-2001 has been approved and is being carried out successful- ly. The Russian-Armenian Board has a Plan for Joint Actions on Combating Terrorism and the Illegal Trade in Weapons, Ammunition, Explosive Substanc- es, and Explosive Devices for 2000-2001. In addition, another sort of coordinating institution, the conference of heads of internal affairs agencies of border districts, has recently been developed. In the fall of 2000, such conferences, including the participation of the relevant internal affairs ministers, were held for Russian and Ukrainian officials (in Do- netsk) and Russian and Kazakhstani officials (in Novosibirsk). During the meet- ings, these conferences were given permanent operating status. Therefore, a very solid organizational basis for cooperation has been created along with the necessary treaties and legal arrangements. At present, a signifi- cant number of multilateral and bilateral agreements are in effect in the anticrime sphere at the interstate, intergovernmental, and interagency levels, and this pro- cess is continuing. The internal affairs agencies of the CIS countries are working actively on the investigation of criminal cases; on questions of extradition and the protection of social order; on the development of information systems and special means, technology, and equipment; and on the training and continuing education of personnel. A system has been put in place for the exchange of operational infor- mation. Comprehensive investigations are being conducted regarding organiza- tions and individuals suspected of involvement in the activities of terrorist or other extremist formations and criminal groups and societies. In cooperation with other military structures, prevention and search opera- tions are regularly conducted, along with special operations to prevent, uncover, suppress, and reveal crimes. There are a multitude of examples, including most importantly such activities as “Border,” “Border-Barrier,” “Channel,” “Transit,” “Passenger,” and “Foreigner.” Despite the fact that the development of interagency cooperation within the CIS framework regarding the struggle against terrorism and other manifestations of extremism is going well on the whole, work on the further intensification of joint efforts in this regard is actively continuing. This is connected primarily

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 HIGH IMPACT TERRORISM with the fact that these extraterritorial phenomena, which do not recognize the boundaries of state or political systems, today represent an enormous problem and a real force capable of opposing state institutions and threatening national security. This has been shown by events occurring in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Therefore, it is difficult to overestimate the role and significance of close international cooperation in this sphere on the whole, including within the frame- work of the Commonwealth of Independent States. On this basis, we must continue to move forward on the road to a new millennium free from the threat of international terrorism and other manifestations of extremism.

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