The conflict in Yemen has created a human tragedy in devastating proportions – since the start of the conflict over two years ago, there are 2 million people displaced across the country, with a further 1 million having returned to their homes, but still requiring humanitarian assistance (source: UNHCR)
Yemen has been torn apart by violence since 2014, when Houthi rebels, allied with troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, captured much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa. A coalition assembled by Saudi Arabia launched an air campaign against the rebels in March 2015 to try to restore the internationally recognised government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power. Since then, the conflict has killed more than 10,000 people and pushed the improverished country to the brink of famine (source: Al-Jazeera)
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular (AQAP) have taken advantage of the conflict by seizing territory in the south of Yemen and carrying out lethal attacks. AQAP continues to be, as US officials have described, “the most active operational franchise” of al-Qaeda beyond Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Western intelligence agencies also consider AQAP the most dangerous branch of al-Qaeda because of its technical expertise and global reach, and the emergence of IS affiliates in Yemen is a serious concern (source: BBC)
The UNODC Terrorism Prevention Branch (TPB) hosted a National Workshop for Yemeni Law Enforcement in May 2017 to enhance their capabilities to secure evidence for counter-terrorism investigations.
iJust Director Dan Suter presented on the opportunities to use informal and formal mutual legal assistance to request evidence from encrypted devices held on servers in other jurisdictions.
Yemeni Law Enforcement officials face numerous challenges, but this vital training, funded by the Japanese Government, will enhance intelligence and evidence collection for counter-terrorism investigations.
The Workshop was also an opportunity to collaborate again with dedicated colleagues from the TPB, Zouhair Racheha and Mohamed Fouda, and meet presenter of Egyptian TV show Tech Talks, Mohamed El Guindy.
The technical assistance the TPB are providing to Yemen is essential to support the rule of law and part of the efforts to enable those displaced to one day return to a safer country.