Expected Council Action
The chairs of the three counterterrorism-related committees (the 1267 Committee, the CTC and the 1540 Committee) are due to brief the Council in May. The joint briefings started in 2005, when three were given. In the years since, the chairs of the three committees have jointly briefed the Council twice each year (the last briefing was in November). The briefing will likely be followed by an open debate. No Council decision is expected.
1267 Committee (Al-Qaida and Taliban sanctions)
The first biannual report of the 1267 Committee’s ombudsperson, Judge Kimberly Prost, was submitted to the Council on 21 January. The report summarised the initial activities of the office of the ombudsperson. (Six cases have been accepted by the ombudsperson and are at various stages of the review process outlined in resolution 1904 of 2009.)
The report noted that, since the office was still in the early stages of operation, experience so far has been limited. Even so, some issues were identified for possible consideration by the Council. These included:
- the possible need to widen the ombudsperson’s mandate to address cases of individuals who have been delisted but continue to face financial and travel restrictions;
- the desirability of the committee’s providing reasons for its decision when it delists entries;
- empowering the ombudsperson to disclose the identity of designating states to the petitioner and other relevant states;
- the need for at least two additional professional staff in the office of the ombudsperson to assist with researching cases; and
- the provision of additional resources for travel and translation of documents into non-official UN languages in order that listed individuals and entities are able to communicate with the ombudsperson and the committee in a language which they understand.
The 1267 Monitoring Team submitted a report to the committee on 22 February on implementation by member states of the sanctions regime. The report centred on two matters:
- how the committee can better promote peace and stability by consulting more closely with the government of Afghanistan on delisting requests; and
- enhancing reforms introduced in resolution 1904 in light of continued challenges to state implementation of the sanctions measures.
Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC, or the 1373 Committee)
The CTC submitted its 2011 programme of work to the Council on 25 March. The committee plans to enhance its efforts on matching of potential donors with recipients in order to facilitate implementation of resolution 1373 and resolution 1624. (Resolution 1624 of 2005 added an additional request for states to prohibit the incitement of terrorism.) As part of promoting implementation, the committee plans to organise a special meeting during 2011, open to member states and relevant stakeholders to mark the tenth anniversary of the adoption of resolution 1373. The programme of work also confirmed that the committee would submit to the Council by 30 June an updated global survey on the implementation of resolution 1373, based on a report by the committee’s Executive Directorate (CTED).
The committee also organised a special meeting, hosted by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France from 19 to 21 April, to discuss how to improve prevention policies dealing with radicalisation and incitement, as well as the role of law enforcement in preventing terrorism.
1540 Committee (weapons of mass destruction and terrorism)
On 20 April the Council extended the mandate of the 1540 Committee and its group of experts for ten years. The committee was requested to conduct a comprehensive review of the status of implementation of resolution 1540 and recommend any necessary adjustments to its mandate every five years.
The Council also decided that the 1540 Committee should submit an annual programme of work to the Council before the end of each May, with the next due by 31 May. In addition, the Committee was asked to address by 31 August a number of controversial issues relating to the group of experts, including expertise and broad geographical representation.
The key issue for the May briefing and debate is maintaining broad support for the work of all three counterterrorism committees.
A related issue is the upcoming renewal of the 1267 Committee’s monitoring team and ombudsperson in June. Due process concerns continue to be an issue for many states. There are also questions as to what degree the office of the ombudsperson has been able to address those concerns.
Possible options include using the briefing as an opportunity to publicly encourage the chairs of the counterterrorism committees, who each assumed their positions at the beginning of the year, to aim for a more free flowing interactive discussion when briefing the Council.
Council and Wider Dynamics
There is a degree of concern on the part of some members that the biannual joint briefings have become formulaic and reliant on the delivery of prepared statements. (The UK, as Council president last November, attempted to foster a more free-flowing discussion by encouraging the committees’ three outgoing chairs to offer some reflections and advice with regard to the future of the committees. This seemed to be received well by the members, although some were apparently less comfortable than others with moving discussion away from prepared statements.)
There is wide agreement that the joint briefings are important in terms of transparency and in maintaining support from the wider UN membership for counterterrorism efforts. Accordingly, a meeting which encourages exchange of information with member states and feedback is seen as important. Most accept that the goal will be lessened over time if the briefings are not re-energised in some way. Some members appear satisfied with the status quo for now and see no need yet to adjust the tone and format of the briefings.
With regard to the 1267 Committee, members are beginning to focus more on the upcoming renewal of the monitoring team and the office of the ombudsperson’s mandate in June. A number of members, particularly the European “like minded group”, remain concerned that legal challenges to the regime have continued. Resolution 1904 in December 2009, and the appointment of the ombudsperson, seem not to have resolved the underlying issues.
How to best address these continuing concerns will likely form a significant part of the renewal negotiations in the coming weeks. It seems that the “like minded” group intend to present Council members with a number of far reaching proposals, which may include:
- the committee taking de-listing decisions by majority vote without veto privileges, rather than by consensus;
- the ombudsperson being allowed to recommend delistings, which would automatically occur after 30 days if the committee does not confirm the entry;
- listed persons or entities being provided with the identity of the designating state and information regarding the grounds for their listing; and
- when the committee rejects a delisting request, providing reasons for its decision to the petitioner via the ombudsperson.
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