South Asia has suffered from a significant amount of terrorist violence over the years. For example, 38 percent of terrorist incidents in 2013 occurred in South Asia, according to the Global Center on Cooperative Security. In 2014, according to the U.S. State Department, more than 60 percent of terrorist attacks took place in just five countries (Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and Nigeria), of which three are in South Asia; nearly 6,700 people died from terrorist attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India that year.
In recognition of the need to build expertise in the adjudication of terrorism-related cases, the Global Center and the UN Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) launched a project to engage South Asian judges to develop strategies to improve the handling of such cases. One of the project’s goals was the development of a regional toolkit to help guide judges in their adjudication of such cases, which could in turn support the development of national bench books.
Pro bono lawyers from SalesForce.com** and Salesforce Foundation, in partnership with Baker & McKenzie*†, rose to the challenge of preparing such a regional toolkit.
When Salesforce began its pro bono program in 2014, it was eager to find a global project that could be done by its lawyers around the world. Drafting this regional toolkit fit the bill, and partnering with a global law firm like Baker & McKenzie allowed Salesforce to match up its lawyers with nearby law firm lawyers in different offices. Teams in Paris, London, Toronto, San Francisco, and New York contributed to the creation of this toolkit, which was recently submitted to the Global Center and CTED. The toolkit is practice-oriented and follows customary international and human rights law and norms relating to court proceedings for terrorism offenses. It is expected to be discussed at the 10th “Regional Workshop for Judges, Prosecutors, and Police in South Asia on Effectively Countering Terrorism” in Bangkok this October and may ultimately be used as a template for judges and judicial academies in other regions as well.
This project is the latest example of how partnerships in pro bono, particularly on a global scale, can provide meaningful assistance on important issues. The PBEye salutes Salesforce and Baker & McKenzie on a job well done.
* denotes a Signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®
**denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory
† denotes a Member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project