At their recent meetings via video conference on 22-23 October 2020 NATO Defence Ministers welcomed the adoption of the NATO Battlefield Evidence Policy and NATO Practical Framework for Technical Exploitation. This represents an important step in bolstering collective counter-terrorism efforts, as it helps Allies to have more information available in the fight against terrorism.
NATO troops are taking part in several NATO-led missions and operations, during which they gather great amounts of information and material, including for example IEDs, documents or electronic devices. While this is mostly used to support a wide range of military tasks and objectives, in accordance with NATO mandates, policies, military operational objectives and applicable international and national laws, this information and material may also support law enforcement purposes and legal proceedings as evidence drawn from the battlefield.
In the context of the international community’s fight against terrorism, Battlefield Evidence can play a key role in helping to bring foreign terrorist fighters to justice. In this regard, the new policy also supports Allies in fulfilling their obligations under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2396 of 2017 in holding foreign fighters accountable. Most importantly, it will facilitate the sharing of information and material from NATO operations and missions in support of law enforcement purposes and legal proceedings.
Technical Exploitation is key to these efforts. It enables NATO forces to derive important information from material and materiel collected on the battlefield to support military objectives, protect our forces or support law enforcement outcomes as battlefield evidence.
NATO will also continue to engage, as appropriate, and on a case by case basis, with other international organisations, notably the UN, INTERPOL, the OSCE, and the EU, with the overall goal of strengthening cooperation, effectiveness, added value and complementarity between partner organisations in their common fight against terrorism.