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Security Council – Open Debate on “Threats to international peace and security: Linkages between international terrorism and organized crime”

Statement delivered by Italy at the Security Council Open Debate on “Threats to international peace and security: Linkages between international terrorism and organized crime” —

Mr. President,

I would like to thank the Peruvian Presidency for organizing this Open Debate and all the briefers for their insightful presentations.

Italy aligns itself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union.

Italy attaches the greatest importance to the linkages between organized criminal groups and terrorist. Due to its position at the center of the Mediterranean Sea, our Country is exposed to the consequences of all forms of trafficking and related crimes committed by exploiting the flows of persons, drugs, weapons and financial resources between Africa, the Middle East and Europe. The action of organized groups represents a serious threat we are addressing in the most cooperative way, and we commend the efforts produced by the UN system and the international organizations in order to react with a comprehensive and collaborative approach, as this debate demonstrates.

Among the numerous documents dedicated to the linkages by the UN bodies, let me also highlight the important contribution provided by the balanced analyses provided by the Monitoring Team supporting the 1267 Committee.

The considerations included in the 23rd and 24th report of the Monitoring Team highlight an essential point: we need more information and more evidence-based research in order to define not “if” those connections exist (we know they do), but “how and where” they are on place and “in what forms” they impact our societies.
In this framework, we support your initiative to have a Security Council resolution on this subject.

I will focus now on the Italian experience in fighting links between terrorism and criminal groups.

The National Antimafia and Antiterrorism Directorate (DNA), established in 1991, has the mandate to fight organized crime and, in accordance with UNSC res. 2178, to counter terrorism.The DNA has no direct or operational investigative power and is in charge of coordinating the work of all prosecution offices in order to share information, avoid overlapping and provide specific expertise. The positive consequences of this mechanism are: higher specialization of prosecutors; more effective cooperation with law enforcement; closer cooperation at the international level; and better coordinated use of information and evidence.

The DNA and its database resulted to be an essential tool in addressing the more and more complex action of organized criminal groups and terrorist organizations. At the national level, the DNA is a point of reference for the exchange of information with relevant bodies: Law Enforcement, financial unit, intelligence service, and specialized private sector.

At the international level, the DNA established permanent coordination with foreign prosecution offices, relevant EU Authorities, international organizations, including FIUs, and has a critical role in supporting joint investigations as well as mutual legal assistance (MLA) and extraditions.

In the last two years, the DNA collected more than one evidence of existing contacts and, in some cases, operational cooperation between organized criminal groups and persons belonging to terrorist groups in Italy and abroad. Part of these elements refer to financial implications. In some cases, criminal actions were performed as a source of illegal funds then destined to terrorist environment; in different cases, criminal nets were exploited to grant the safe transfer of funds of both legal and illegal provenance to support terrorists’ needs. In this regard, I would like to recall the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the UNOCT and Guardia di Finanza that will improve our common action against illegal financial flows linked to terrorist networks. The international dimension of the contacts and the importance of illegal financial flows should strengthen our commitment to invest in financial investigations in all cases of suspicious involvement of terrorists in criminal actions. This is a lesson learned that Italy is keen to share together with the institutional and operational solutions I just described.