Justice Department Co-Hosts Second Meeting of the Counterterrorism Law Enforcement Forum in Norway

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Wednesday, June 7, 2023
Justice Department Co-Hosts Second Meeting of the Counterterrorism Law Enforcement Forum in Norway

The Justice Department’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Counterterrorism (State CT) co-hosted the second annual meeting of the Counterterrorism Law Enforcement Forum (CTLEF) with the Government of Norway in Oslo from June 6 to 7. The CTLEF, which focuses on countering the global threat of racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism (REMVE), brought together law enforcement, prosecutors, and other criminal justice practitioners from Europe and North and South America, as well as specialists from INTERPOL, Europol, the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law and other multilateral organizations to discuss how to effectively address and counter REMVE threats.

Assistant Attorney General (AAG) Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division provided opening remarks with U.S. Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism Ian Moss and Norway’s Minster of Justice and Public Security Emilie Enger Mehl. AAG Olsen noted that the United States remains committed to addressing REMVE extremism in conjunction with foreign partners. The complex challenges posed by REMVE actors require a coordinated international response that sees countries work together to understand and address REMVE recruiting, financing and attack-planning. Coordinated action by rule of law practitioners worldwide is a key strategy to degrading REMVE activities.

Deputy Assistant Attorney General (DAAG) and Counselor for International Affairs Bruce Swartz, along with a Norwegian counterpart, delivered closing remarks after the first day of CTLEF meetings. DAAG Swartz noted that this meeting continued the important work that began at last year’s first ever CTLEF and encouraged all participants to continue their ongoing efforts in preventing and addressing terrorism and REMVE threats.

OPDAT Director Faye Ehrenstamm, along with State CT’s Bureau and a Norwegian counterpart delivered the closing remarks at the end of the CTLEF. Director Ehrenstamm first thanked the delegations for attending and participating in this important initiative. She further emphasized the importance of international cooperation to learn about and address REMVE threats and pointed out participants had shared many important insights with each other during the forum. She concluded by emphasizing that the experiences exchanged and lessons learned at the year’s CTLEF illustrates the importance of working together on this critical threat.

The Governments of the United States and Germany co-hosted the inaugural meeting of the CTLEF in Berlin in May 2022. The initial meeting increased government’s focus, awareness and understanding about REMVE activity globally and focused on the strengthening of international cooperation to counter this terrorist threat. The June 2023 meeting built on the 2022 meeting and continued to increase international knowledge of this terrorist threat, as well as focusing on strengthening mechanisms and international cooperation to counter this threat. A more robust shared understanding and picture of REMVE global activity, including the overlap with anti-government and conspiracy theorist movements, will be critical in the years ahead as REMVE threats continue to build their transnational ties. This forum serves as a locale to begin building lines of communication between like-minded law enforcement and other partners and practitioners around the world who are working on this problem set. The CTLEF will convene again in the spring of 2024.

Officials from the U.S. Departments of State, Justice, and Treasury, as well as representatives from over 40 countries and various international and multilateral organizations, also participated in this meeting.

Please visit www.justice.gov/criminal-opdat for more information about OPDAT’s capacity building efforts around the world.

Topic(s): Domestic TerrorismNational SecurityComponent(s): Criminal DivisionCriminal – Office of International AffairsNational Security Division (NSD)

Updated June 7, 2023Original Article

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