LAST_UPDATEThu, 21 Jun 2018 2pm

Judges Need To Be Empowered With Terrorism Knowledge - US Legal Advisor

Karyn Kenny.Karyn Kenny.

TUARAN – Court judges around the world need to be empowered with knowledge in terrorism to enable them to make right and fair decisions when dealing with related cases, according to an embassy legal advisor. 

Karyn Kenny who is based at the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur said as the final arbitrator, judges could send a message to terrorist organisations that the judiciary is strong, educated and active in fighting terrorism.

“Whether it’s an American judge or a Malaysian judge, the judiciary is such an integral part of, not only the world’s law, but our fight against terrorism.

“For myself, as a prosecutor, when the judges are aware and informed of what is happening, it makes it more powerful and a more fair proceeding,” she told reporters in conjunction with the East Malaysia Judicial Counter Terrorism Financing Workshop here today.

The workshop organised by the US Department of Justice’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training (OPDAT), was launched by Chief Justice of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum.

Kenny said law enforcement agencies should also go after the gatekeepers such as accountants, insurance brokers and money managers, who have knowledge of how funds were being used.

“When terrorist acts occur, and God help us when blood is spilled and people die, when those individuals are brought to the court of law, they get heavy sentences like 20 or 30 years (imprisonment) or sometimes death.

“Our message is that the financing of those acts is what allows that blood to be shed. So, when we are sentencing financial cases to inflict terrorism, they (financiers of terrorism) should get just the same amount of time. As someone who writes the cheque, you pull the trigger,” she said.

US Criminal Law and Trial Advocacy specialist John W. Vaudreuil said terrorists were an organised violent gang, but they could be beaten when society was better organised to go against them.

Meanwhile, Malanjum said the workshop could raise Malaysian judges’ awareness on what is happening around the world so they would not be foreign to money laundering activities that cater to terrorism.

“We don’t want to be caught with so many cases before us and not knowing what to do. This (workshop) prepares us for any eventuality,” he said.