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Countering Terrorist Financing

The practitioner’s point of view

Edited By Mark Pieth, Daniel Thelesklaf and Radha Ivory

Terrorists need money to commit acts of violence and sustain their operations. Measures to combat terrorism therefore aim to prevent terrorists from raising, moving and using funds or other assets. The effectiveness – and the fairness – of these measures were considered at the second ‘Giessbach’ seminar on counter-terrorist financing (CTF) organised by the Basel Institute on Governance in October 2008.
This book contains essays presented at the seminar written by practitioners and academics with extensive experience in the field of CTF. The authors offer a diversity of views on the domestic, regional and international initiatives aimed at detecting terrorist funds in the financial system, preventing terrorists from moving their money via alternative financial channels and facilitating the recovery of terrorist assets. The editors conclude with in-sights into the ongoing challenge of making CTF measures both effective and legally sustainable in the lead-up to Giessbach III in December 2009.

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KILIAN STRAUSS - Combating terrorist financing: are transition countries the weak link? 109

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KILIAN STRAUSS* Combating terrorist financing: are transition countries the weak link? I. Introduction Terrorist operations are like other operations involving complex logis- tics in that they depend on financial flows for their realisation. Recog- nising this, states and international organisations have developed a number of initiatives aimed at removing terrorists’ access to funds and financial services. These initiatives encounter a series of problems. It is well known that the funds needed to commit a terrorist act can be relatively insignificant and may remain legal for a long period of time (until an attack is carried out) making their detection extremely difficult. In addition, given the strengthened international effort to combat terrorist financing, terrorists are increasingly looking for jurisdictions where the barriers to detection are high due to insufficient legislation, poor financial intelligence or weak law enforcement. According to the United States’ (US) Country Reports on Terror- ism,1 Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan and Sudan are currently among the most important terrorist havens in the world2 and the * Kilian Strauss is Senior Programme Officer at the Secretariat of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna. This contribution was written in his private capacity and does not represent or engage the opinion of the OSCE or its participating states. 1 US Department of State Office of the Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism, Coun- try Reports on Terrorism, 2007, available at http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/crt/ 2007/index.htm. 2 ‘Terrorist safe havens are defined […] as ungoverned, under-governed or ill- governed areas of a country and...

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