The Executive Committee of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) is a permanent body. The organization's headquarters are located in the Republic of Uzbekistan, in the city of Tashkent.
The Executive Committee of the SCO RATS follows in its activity the SCO Chart provisions, Shanghai Convention against Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism, Agreement of the SCO Member-states on the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure, as well as other documents and resolution adopted in the framework of the SCO.
A correspondent of People's Newspaper interviewed Evgeny Sysoev, Director of the Executive Committee of the Organization on fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism.
- According to the Charter documents, the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) is a specialized permanent body of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the area of fighting against terrorism, separatism and extremism. RATS facilities coordination of interaction of the relevant authorities of the SCO member-states in the specified area. What practical mechanisms of anti-terrorist co-operation does RATS use? What are the achievements?
- Establishment and development of the SCO RATS is connected, from the one hand, to a need of creating an institutional and legal framework for a long-term co-operation of the state in the area of fighting terrorism, separatism and extremism, and from the other hand, a need to ensure timely reaction to new challenges and threats to security of the SCO member states.
The years, passed from the start of the RATS operation, showed that the Organization successfully meets the objectives outlined in the Charter. This many times was highlighted at the summits of SCO member-states, as well as in the Resolution of the UN General Assembly No. 71/14 of November 21, 2016: "SCO has become the most important regional organization for consideration of security issues in all the aspects".
Today, efficient work of two bodies of SCO RATS – Council and Executive Committee – and the legal framework created by them provide for an effective implementation of combined organizational, operative and investigation, preventive, and other activities of the relevant authorities of the SCO member states. SCO Convention on countering extremism, adopted at the Astana summit of SCO in June 2017, aims at consolidation of efforts on deradicalization of population, prevention of terrorist ideology expansion. Three-year programs are developed, the permanent groups of experts on legislative, technical issues, operative data exchange, border co-operation, termination of Internet use for terrorism, separatism and extremism purposes are formed.
The result of activity of these groups is development of joint measures on countering the threats coming from the international terrorist organization Islamic State (ITO IS, prohibited in Russia and in a number of other states); transition of people to the regions of terrorist activity; prevention and termination of use by terrorist of computer networks; prevention of use of suicide bombers and expansion of radical religious ideology on the territories of the SCO member states, etc.
All of this contributes to co-operation of the relevant authorities of the SCO member states when performing counter-terrorism activity. For example, in 2016, FSS of Russia in co-operation with the partners from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan terminated 40 terrorism orientated crimes at the preparation stage in the cities of Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Ekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod. The relevant authorities of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia terminated activity of ITO IS group, which was planning terrorist actions in SCO countries. The partners from Kazakhstan transferred 5 wanted members of ITO, 14 terrorists were detained in Kyrgyzstan and Russia. The terrorist act aimed at the employees of Chinese Embassy in the city of Bishkek on August 30, 2016 was investigated in a close co-operation of the Chinese and Kyrgyzstan intelligence services. Several members of the terrorist cells were detected, detained and transferred to Tajikistan by common efforts of the Tajikistan and Russian intelligence services. The relevant authorities of Uzbekistan and Russia detected and terminated the channels of transit of ITO IS recruits and legalization of the armed insurgents in the countries of origin.
Transition of 200 persons to ITO was prevented, the bank accounts of 2 thousand persons, enablers of terrorist financing, were blocked, access to 100,000 terrorist Internet sites was restricted. Tracking of the persons suspected in terrorism is carried out, they are included to the Unified Tracking Register of SCO RATS. Joint anti-terrorist exercises are conducted annually. In order to ensure security of the large international events, a special mechanism of coordination was created, which was successfully tested for the first time during Olympic Games in China. The border co-operation is strengthened, joint border operations are conducted. The Agreement on Co-operation and Interaction Between the SCO member states on the Border Issues was signed at Ufa summit of the SCO member-states.
- The terrorist attacks, which happen within last two years in the USA and European countries, provide clear evidence that negative consequences of the conflict in Syria expand far beyond its borders. How does development of the situation in the zone of Syria and Iraq influence state of security in SCO space?
- For a long time, Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra and other international terrorist organizations covered significant part of the Syrian territory. Over 20,000 people, citizens of European, Middle East, South East Asia countries, passed through "running test" in combat conditions.
Today, on the background of defeat in Syria, ITO IS tries to transfer the terrorist activity to the other regions using for this purpose potential of the local terrorist organizations and lone-wolf-terrorists, on the territory of the SCO member-states as well.
In the course of conducted operative and investigation activities the relevant authorities of the SCO member-states detected and terminated dozens of transit channels of recruits to the Syrian conflict zone. Operative accounting of armed insurgents has been established and is carried out. Exchange of preemptive information on the activities of such structures as Islamic State, Jabhat an-Nusra, Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami, Tajikistan Party of Islamic Renaissance, Islamic Movement of the East Turkestan, etc. is carried out. Joint measures to neutralize their cells on the territory of the SCO member states are implemented.
The SCO RATS takes into account new emerging challenges and threats and is ready to counter them.
- Tajikistan Party of Islamic Renaissance (TPIR), which organized a large scale terrorist attack in the Republic in September 2015, was adjudicated as terrorist-extremist organization by the Supreme Court of the Republic of Tajikistan. Are there data on connection of TPIR to ITO IS?
- According to the data received from the relevant authorities of Tajikistan, TEO TRIP not only systematically organized terrorist underworld and terrorist activity in Tajikistan, but maintained tight connection to ITO IS, Muslim Brotherhood-Ihvan el-Muslimin, Jamaat Ansarullah, Hizb ut-Tahrir, Taliban Movement, Islamic Movement of Turkestan and others. For the period of its activity in Tajikistan in different years, the leaders of ITO TRIP transited more than 500 young people to the foreign terrorist centers. Most of them are active members of terrorist and extremist organizations. The relevant authorities of Tajikistan also received the evidences that Ansarullah is a military wing of TEO TRIP.
A confirmation of the above said is the fact that out of 1,000 citizens of the Republic of Tajikistan, who are included into IS forces, 521 people are TEO TRIP. The law enforcement bodies of Tajikistan terminated the efforts of a number of TEO TRIP members to leave for Syria with their families. In the beginning of August 2015, K. Mamonov, the leader of TEO TRIP cell was detained for propagating Islamic State ideology and hanging out of IS flag in the city of Nurek.
Neutralization of TRIP extremist and terrorist activity contributed to reduction of recruiting the citizens of Tajikistan to ITO IS.
- How does co-operation of the SCO RATS with the relevant structures of other international organizations develop?
- Contacts with the UN develop successfully. In November 2016, s special event was conducted at the General Assembly: "UNO and SCO: commonly countering challenges and threats".
Our international partners traditionally participate in the RATS annual research-to-practice conference. The representatives of 8 SCO member states and 4 SCO observer-states, 7 relevant UN subdivisions and 6 international organizations participated in the SCO RATS regular Fifth research-to-practice conference: Fighting Terrorism – Co-operation Beyond Frontiers, which took place on November 1-2, 2017 in the city of Tashkent.
Currently, the SCO RATS established contacts with UN Directorate for Fighting Narcotics and Crime, Counter-Terrorism Committee of UN Security Council, Interpol, Eurasian Group for Countering Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing, CSTO Secretariat, Anti-terrorist Center of the CIS Member-States, Coordinating Service of the Council of Commanders of the Border Forces of the CIS Member-States, Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Center for Combating Illicit Narcotics, Secretariat of the Council for Co-operation and Trust Measures in Asia. Protocol on Co-operation with the African Center on Research and Study of Terrorism is scheduled to be signed.
The SCO RATS is always open for dialog aimed at consolidation of the international efforts to fight the common global threat – terrorism.