Assessing Measures to Combat the Financing of Terrorism

Date: Wednesday, 6 November 2013 from 13:30 – 17:00
Venue: Clingendael, Netherlands Instituut of International Relations, Clingendael 7, 2597 VH The Hague

The changing nature of terrorism has triggered the re-evaluation of various counter-terrorism policies. This reassessment has for example resulted in a more comprehensive approach to combatting terrorism with a focus on prevention and in accordance with human rights principles. The context-specific analysis of the (local) problem of violent extremism is in this respect relevant to formulate effective policies in countering violent extremism and terrorism. Key word is therefore ‘effectiveness’ of policies.

It has been argued that not many financial resources are needed to plan a terrorist attack. Yet, the renewed power positions of regional terrorist organisations that focus on undermining national governments in regions like the Maghreb, West-Africa or the Horn of Africa and Yemen, but that also have international aspirations, show that an organised structure and thus financial resources are needed. The recent conflicts in these regions, the lack of good governance, and porous borders are all ingredients that facilitate illegal trafficking of weapons and financial flows also from foreign investments in Arab states.

Questions in this regard are:

  • How are the violent extremist groups financed? Can we identify the key players? And where does the money come from?
  • Are we able to implement measures that target the roots of the problem? Who or what is targeted?
  • What is the effectiveness of these measures? How can we evaluate that?
  • What about the legality/legitimacy of these measures? What are the side effects of these measures?
  • Are there any alternatives, or possibilities to alter the measures to be more effective, better targeted and without negative side effects? Is there a way to reduce the economic incentive of a financial contribution to a violent extremist cause? Can we apply lessons from the theories concerning the economy of conflicts?

The seminar gathered six experts with Tom Keatinge (independent consultant), Gavin Sullivan (University of Amsterdam), Lia van Broekhoven (Human Security Collective) and experts from Europol and Interpol. ICCT Research Fellow Dr. Bibi van Ginkel moderated the seminar.


13:00 – 13:30: Doors open, coffee and tea served
13:30 – 13:45: Welcome and introduction (Dr. Bibi van Ginkel, ICCT)
13:45 – 14:10: Terrorism financing: Where are the problems (Interpol)
14:10 – 14:35: The role of Europol in fighting terrorist financing (Europol)
14:35 – 15:00: Public/private partnerships in countering terrorist financing (Tom Keatinge, indep. consultant)
15:00 – 15:20: Coffee break
15:20 – 15:45: Effectiveness of measures to counter terrorist financing (Gavin Sullivan, University of Amsterdam)
15:45 – 16:10: Side effects and alternative measures (Lia van Broekhoven, Human Security Collective)
16:10 – 17:00: Panel discussion with all speakers: “The way forward”
17:00 – 18:00: Drinks reception

Read the full Meeting Report.