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JIS News

Combating terrorism topped the agenda of last week’s meeting of Law Ministers from small Commonwealth jurisdictions, which was chaired by Jamaica’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Senator A. J. Nicholson.
The meeting, which took place at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, United Kingdom (UK) from October 21 to 22, saw the Law Ministers and Attorneys-General exploring the impact of terrorist activities and the threats to security and stability.
In his address, Commonwealth Secretary-General, Don McKinnon said no country, “no matter how big or small or remote, can escape the scourge of modern-day terrorism”. He said, however, that through collective and practical action, terrorism could be effectively combated.
Mr. McKinnon pointed out that the Commonwealth had set itself high anti-terrorism standards and all 53 members were working together to meet them fully.
“Getting the anti-terrorism legal frameworks right is a vital building block in defeating terrorism, wherever it occurs. Law Ministers and Attorneys-General are custodians of legal policy in member states. The challenge for small jurisdictions is no less than in larger ones, given the particular vulnerabilities of these countries and territories,” he said.
The meeting also discussed how to implement effective border controls to prevent the movement of terrorists. This, the meeting agreed was a pressing issue for small jurisdictions. Commonwealth Heads of Government have repeatedly expressed their full support for United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 on the prevention and suppression of terrorism, and the meeting wanted to enable Law Ministers to move closer to fully implementing these measures.
The Law Ministers also discussed at investment and international trade and the challenges ahead for Small Island Developing States.
Legal developments in the Commonwealth, including mutual assistance in international criminal matters, constitutional reforms and private international law were also discussed.