An Open Letter to French Ministers of Interior and Justice

Paris, 18 October 2020

Mr. Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, and Mr. Justice Minister, Éric Dupont-Moretti,

Following the September 2000 2nd Intifada and peak of global terrorism, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre sponsored a “Convention Against Suicide Terrorism,” composed by then Legal Counsellor to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Alan Baker.

The Convention penalizes those complicit in the chain of terror, from those who incite, to those who recruit, train, arm, grant refuge, finance and glorify the actual perpetuator.

Today, one might add the role of social media...The bottom line is, there is no “lone wolf”!

The Convention was then adopted by the Australian Parliament, three months after my presentation in Canberra, on the day that Indonesia freed Abu Bakar Bashir, the motor behind the 2002 Bali bombing that killed 88 Australians, 38 Indonesians, 23 Britons, and people of more than 20 other nationalities.

It was similarly adopted unanimously by the Latin American Parliament (PARLATINO) of over 30 member Parliaments, including Cuba and Venezuela, which respectively appended “military terrorism” and "terrorism against offshore oil rigs.”

The crime of beheading became most notable in the case of the American journalist Daniel Pearl and became the copyright of Al Qaeda and Isis in the Caliphate.

The latest horrific such act, the decapitating of a teacher in a Paris suburban school, who was accused of showing the Charlie Hebdo Muhammad caricatures as a class exercise on freedom of expression and intolerance, is a classic example of the chain of terror: the parents of the offended student who sought satisfaction, the self-proclaimed radical Imam Abdelhakim Sefrioui who apparently cast judgment online and chided the headmaster, the “recruitment” of the 18 year old killer, a Chechen who arrived in France as a child with his family from Moscow and was radicalized for Jihad.

In the same manner as the many cases before him, he was not a “lone wolf” – although he was not on the French counter-terror “S list,” other members of the chain probably were, thus expanding the search possibilities of the security authorities.

It is time for us to renew our Convention, for international consideration by all countries beset by the chain of terror.

Dr. Shimon Samuels, Director for International Relations, Simon Wiesenthal Centre

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“There is no Freedom without Justice.” (Simon Wiesenthal, 1908-2005)