Terrorists work across borders, so must we: Ambassador Miller
“Collaborative discussions and work in concert to find solutions to common problems will allow to move forward as a region in fighting terrorism and make the world a safer place for us all”
The US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller said that terrorists do not respect the national boundaries when they commit horrific crimes, therefore fighting them needs to be collaborative and formative.
During a virtual regional conference focused on the use of digital forensics in counterterrorism cases, Ambassador Miller said, "Collaborative discussions and work in concert to find solutions to common problems will allow to move forward as a region in fighting terrorism and make the world a safer place for us all."
He made this remark while addressing a virtual regional counterterrorism conference on June 23, 2020, hosted by the US Embassy's Department of Justice - Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (DOJ-OPDAT) and its Philippine Department of Justice, according to a press release.
Mentioning the Holey Artisan Bakery terror attack on July 1, 2016, Miller said, "Victim like Faraz Hossain and Anti-Terrorism Tribunal Judge Majibur Rahman, who presided over the Holey Bakery trial at great personal risk, embody the courage, conviction, decency, and sense of justice that ensures we will prevail against the evil of terrorism."
Miller futher said that there has been a new law permitting virtual court hearings in Bangladesh, which is important in the context of counterterrorism.
"The application of the law is having a significant and positive effect, permitting tens of thousands of eligible people, including several hundred juveniles, to post bail rather than remain in jail until the courts reopen...otherwise there is an increased chance of radicalization if a suspect eligible for bail is kept in jail for an extended period of time, which is a challenge faced by all countries."
"Moreover, the ability to present witness testimony virtually will aid in effectively prosecuting terrorist cases by making it easier for witnesses who feel threatened or have difficulty traveling to court," he added.
Praising the regional cooperation, US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim said, "This is a unique opportunity to hear from each other about common regional challenges and strengthen our resolve as we work together to find regional solutions."
Philippine Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento discussed the value of combined efforts and said, "A fitting approach to overcome this enemy is a strong legal system, which emanates from an effective law, implemented by professional law enforcement agencies, prosecuted by competent and trained prosecutors, and administered by a stable judicial system. A holistic approach from the domestic end, aided by our international partners, will make us better prepared to surmount this evil."
More than 70 prosecutors, investigators, and judges from Bangladesh, Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Malaysia, and the United States attended the virtual conference to share expertise and best practices for prosecuting terrorism cases.