Surveillance and Border Control in the Caucasus

NATO Advanced Research Workshop
“Surveillance and Border Control in the Caucasus”
September 17-19, 2007
Tbilisi, Georgia

Title: Surveillance and Border Control in the Caucasus

Dates: September 17-19, 2007
Location: Georgia, Tbilisi, Hotel “Sympatia”

To foster cooperation and exchange of skills among policy-makers and law enforcement agencies in the countries along the NATO frontier, in order to create a shared expertise in fighting illegal trafficking of drug, weapons, and human beings, as well as other organised crime and terrorist activities along NATO’s borders.

Key Words:
Surveillance and border control; trafficking and smuggling; organised crime; Caucasus

Justification for the proposed Advanced Research Workshop (ARW):
In the past two decades nations, borders, and alliances have repeatedly undergone substantial changes. With the end of the Cold War, the collapse of several states, the decline of some alliances and the redefinition of others, the longstanding conceptions of “us” and “them” needed to be reconsidered. The evolution of the international system, the development of new forms of international interaction, especially those of an economic-commercial nature, and the rise of new international actors have lead to new challenges and threats. These new threats impact directly the security of our borders and make it necessary to consider the questions of border security in a new light. The tragedy of 9/11 has demonstrated to the world that the differences between “us” and “them” have not disappeared. The tragic events surrounding 9/11 and other attempts and attacks carried out by terrorist organisations in the past few years have also highlighted the need for a re-evaluation of not only our systems of border protection and surveillance, but our concepts of what our borders are and the forms that threats to our borders assume. The logistics of border patrol and protection have drastically changed from the moment that our threats no longer come exclusively from easily identifiable external actors.

These issues, although important for all nations, are particularly relevant for those who are in the process of defining and negotiating new borders, defending new borders and joining new international alliances and partnerships. The seriousness of terrorist attacks and the georgraphic diffusion of extremist ideologies and hate crimes present a particular concern to those countries and regions that are considered to be “in transition.” These countries are characterised by a degree of instability, in particular as a result of the growing strength of organised crime groups and a widespread diffusion of their activities, which have been verified in these areas.

NATO countries and their partners are now facing challenges and threats connected to the diffuse extension of criminal cross-border activities. The nature and extension of these activities have rendered borders more difficult to protect and control than in the past. Criminal groups, as well as terrorist ones, operate across borders trafficking drugs, weapons, human beings and other illicit “goods” without regard for State authority and competence. Legal commercial routes and instruments are as commonly employed as the illegal ones. The presence of criminal groups represents a more hidden threat to states’ security than did traditional enemies. It is for these reasons that the objectives of border control and protection need to be expanded to include the observation of illicit trafficking, rather than mere prevention of entry. To render border protection more effective, an understanding of how illegal networks function is of paramount importance. Before a border can be truly protected against contemporary forms of terrorist and criminal activity, it is vital to identify the networks and to understand their organisation and logistical structure.

The purpose of this NATO ARW was to analyse the challenges threatening border safety and security along the NATO frontier, focusing on the illicit activities carried out in this area, the role of organised crime and terrorism, the concrete opportunities to prevent and combat these illicit trafficking activities, as well as on the role law enforcement agencies play in these efforts.

Participants established closer working relationships, shared technical assistance, stimulated debate and moved towards solutions. Participants from the countries of this region, NATO members, and NATO partners were attended. They included technical experts from civil service, academia, the judiciary, the police force, customs agencies and the military. Key-note speakers and all other participants were chosen by the organisers; the ARW was not open to the public. The ARW was held over six sessions in three days (September 17 – 19, 2007) in Tbilisi, Georgia. The sessions were structured around the themes of organised crime, terrorism, surveillance and border control, trafficking and smuggling of human beings and illicit trafficking of drugs and weapons, with a concluding summary session on the final day. In order to enhance cooperation and exchange of professional skills all participants were remained together throughout the sessions.

Key Contacts:

Prof. Alexandre Kukhianidze
TraCCC Caucasus Office, Tbilisi, Georgia
Tel: (+995 32) 55 01 77; 23 32 04
Fax: (+995 32) 55 01 78

Prof. Daniele Zotti
University of Florence, Italy
Fax: 39 055 5061216












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