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ACC to Use Coercive Powers Against Young Australian Jihadists

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By Athena Yenko | March 11, 2014 1:57 PM EST

Young Australians had reportedly travelling to Syria to fight with jihadist groups.

The Australian Crime Commission admitted that it accepted a significant role in handling Syria terrorism problem in support of the government's effort to combat terrorism.

ACC acting Chief Executive Paul Jevtovic confirmed this with The Australian. He said that ACC is not the chief agency to handle Syrian conflict but is providing the state and federal government an access to ACC's powers.

"(Syria) is obviously of concern and as one of Australia's law enforcement bodies, obviously we're closely monitoring and working with partners in relation to those matters," Mr Jevtovic told The Australian.

To steer clear of overlapping the police, ACC focuses its investigation to other links of Syrian terrorism like organised crime, funding from drug syndicates, funding into money controllers and extremism.

 "One of those important dimensions is the convergence of organised crime with national security threats threats, or terrorism for that matter. It's our intelligence holdings and expertise in that space is what we bring to the table. There is no doubt that we have seen groups use criminality and the proceeds of crime to pursue other ideological matters. One of the things that we have found is that the movement of funds into money controllers that are connected to global terrorist groups. That is occurring and something that we're very focused on," Mr Jevtovic said.

The Use of Coercive Force

ACC said in a statement that its Australian Crime Commission Board determines the priority task delegated to ACC through a process called determinations.

Through determinations, the board shall approve the use of coercive powers in all task labeled as special operation or special investigation, especially if the task involves serious threats to national security.

Once task underwent determinations and the use of coercive powers is approved, the ACC will then support law enforcement and national security agencies in investigating cases relating to organised crimes - smuggling, terrorism and serious and organised crime penetration at the border.

Through coercive force, ACC has the unique powers to examine suspects, denying them their right to silence. If suspects refused to answer any question, ACC have the right to impose jail terms.

Examination proceedings are held in strict confidentiality. It is an offence under the Australian Crime Commission Act 2002 to publicly disclose the details of hearings conducted with the use of the Crime Commission's coercive powers. 

However, all information from the suspect obtained through the use of coercive force shall not be used against the suspect for criminal proceedings.

All information obtained is to be use to support intelligence picture. 

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