than 75 officials from across the U.S. government participated in a battlefield
evidence senior leader seminar on Dec. 6 at the U.S. Special Operations
Command’s Wargame Center on MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. Ambassador Nathan A.
Sales, the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, and Army Gen. Raymond A. Thomas III, Commander
of USSOCOM, co-hosted the event designed to develop solutions and
recommendations to improve the ability of both U.S. and partner nations to more
effectively use battlefield evidence in criminal justice prosecutions.
the State Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau, Amb. Sales serves as the
principal adviser to the Secretary of State on international counterterrorism
evidence is critical in addressing a broad range of national security
objectives. The United States and our
partners can use this information to investigate and prosecute foreign
terrorist fighters, screen and watchlist terrorist suspects, or deny them entry
and protect our borders,” Ambassador Sales said.
senior leaders from the Department of State, Department of Justice and
Department of Defense launched the battlefield evidence initiative in late
2017. With a strong record of convicting terrorists using information that its
military forces collected, it was determined that an initial review of DoD
procedures could illuminate best practices and shape the guiding principles.
seminar co-hosted by USSOCOM discussed the status of non-binding principles
intended to form the basis of capacity building such as recommendations
regarding collective efforts that can be instituted to help standardize how
information is collected, stored, analyzed, and shared with partners in order
to improve domestic and foreign terrorism prosecutions.
The U.S. military has
become intimately familiar with battlefield evidence procedures required to prosecute
violent extremists. Developing standardized procedures and specialized skills
to collect, preserve and exploit materials with our partner militaries is
necessary to ensure prosecution in countries that do not have the legal authority to
admit information collected by non-law enforcement entities in a civilian
criminal case. The authenticity and
reliability of battlefield evidence is essential to providing the necessary
factual basis for determining guilt.