June 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 May 2011
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THE SECURITY COUNCIL

Counter-Terrorism: 1267 Committee

Expected Council Action
The mandates of the ombudsperson for the 1267 committee on sanctions against the Taliban and Al-Qaida and of the monitoring team that supports the work of the committee expire on 17 June. At press time the Council had begun discussions on a renewal resolution for both.

Key Recent Developments
Resolution 1904 of 2009 created the office of the ombudsperson. It also renewed the mandate of the 1267 Committee’s monitoring team which is now set to expire. Negotiations seem to be focused on a number of recommendations made by the ombudsperson and the monitoring team in recent reports.

The 1267 Committee’s ombudsperson, Judge Kimberly Prost, submitted her first biannual report to the Council on 21 January. The report summarised the set up phase for her office and identified issues for the Council to consider. These included the need for the committee to provide reasons for its decisions on delisting persons from the targeted sanctions list. Also, she raised the practical need for the ombudsperson to be able to disclose the identity of the designating state to the petitioner and other relevant states.

The 1267 monitoring team submitted its report to the committee on 22 February. It focused on two key issues: how the committee could better promote peace and stability in Afghanistan and the issue of continuing due process concerns, which are evident in court challenges to the regime. With regard to Afghanistan, the monitoring team recommended that the committee seek ways to speed up its consideration of delisting requests proposed by Afghanistan, for example by creating a checklist of specific questions that the Afghan government would need to consider before submitting a delisting request. With regard to enhancing due process reforms to the regime, the monitoring team suggested that the committee increase transparency by publishing the ombudsperson’s observations on delisting requests (and reasons that committee members disagree with those observations, when that occurs). The report also suggested requiring the committee to reaffirm, by consensus, listings that have been considered by the ombudsperson.

On 16 May, the chairs of the 1267 Committee, the CTC (1373 Counterterrorism committee) and the 1540 committee (non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism) addressed the Council in a regular biannual briefing. The chair of the 1267 Committee, Ambassador Peter Wittig of Germany, said that the Committee had built on last year’s review of its consolidated list by approving the most comprehensive set of updates to the list in its history. The committee had recently agreed to 78 list amendments and to making publicly available almost 200 additional summaries of reasons for listing. The Committee is currently reviewing the listings of 48 individuals who are reported to be deceased and aims to conclude that review by the end of May before conducting other regular reviews requested in resolution 1904.

Wittig reported that to date the ombudsperson had received ten delisting requests and had submitted her first report on a specific delisting request to the committee in February. Two further ombudsperson reports on delisting requests were completed in April. He said the Committee is considering these delisting requests. He also recalled that resolution 1904 encourages committee members to provide reasons for objecting to delisting requests. He said he had insisted that committee members do so promptly. The Committee had reached consensus on the form in which reasons for the Committee’s decision could be communicated on a case-by-case basis. The Committee will also be considering a draft checklist of necessary supporting documentation for delisting requests from the government of Afghanistan.

Following the briefing by the chairmen, all Council members and 13 member states made statements. Speaking on behalf of the informal group of like-minded countries on targeted sanctions (which currently includes Austria, Belgium, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland), Costa Rica noted that the group had sent a letter to the Council in April outlining several proposals to improve and strengthen the sanctions regime including:

  • that the Committee take delisting decisions by majority vote rather than by consensus;
  • that the ombudsperson be allowed to recommend delistings, which would automatically become final after 30 days if the Committee did not reconfirm the listing; and
  • that members provide reasons to the petitioner (via the ombudsperson) for any rejection.

Council members Germany and Colombia stated support for one or more of the proposals circulated by the group of like-minded states. The UK urged consideration of the idea of splitting the consolidated list into two distinct lists, one dealing with the Taliban and one dealing with Al-Qaida. France also advocated taking into account how the relationship between the Taliban and Al- Qaida has changed over time. Russia argued strongly for retaining a unified consolidated list as currently exists and for a continuation of the ombudsperson under the terms of her present mandate.

Key Issues
A key issue for the Council is the continuing due process concerns, which have persisted despite the modifications made to the sanctions regime in resolution 1904.

A related issue is whether any of the changes rising from the recommendations of the ombudsperson, the panel of experts and the “like minded” group can be agreed by Council members.

The possibility of splitting the consolidated list in two is another issue on the table.

Options
Options for the Council include:

  • using the renewal of the monitoring team and ombudsperson as an opportunity to incorporate further improvements to the regime, as suggested by the group of like-minded countries, as well as the ombudsperson and monitoring team;

  • a simple renewal of the ombudsperson and the monitoring team but deferring decisions on substantive changes to a later date (perhaps committing to complete consideration of them within say three months);

  • allowing the mandate of either the monitoring team or the office of the ombudsperson to expire altogether (a less likely possibility); or

  • splitting a consolidated list into two distinct lists, one dealing with the Taliban and one dealing with Al-Qaida.

Council and Wider Dynamics
There seems to be wide support in the Council for renewing both the ombudsperson and the monitoring team. However, the issue of changes to the regime is considerably more contentious. Some members (including Germany) seem supportive of some kind of time limit or sunset clause relating to listings (or at least certain categories of listings). However, it appears that significant resistance may be encountered from some permanent members, notably Russia which has spoken publicly about its reservations at the 16 May briefing. The US has not spoken publicly on this but some reservations seem likely.

There is also a difference of opinion on the desirability of disassociating Taliban listings from Al-Qaida listings with the UK (and perhaps the US) being open to this but Russia opposed.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1904 (17 December 2009) renewed the mandate of the 1267 Committee monitoring team, created an office of the ombudsperson for 18 months and included significant changes to the administration of the 1267 regime.
  • S/RES/1267 (15 October 1999) established the Al-Qaida and Taliban committee and its mandate.

Meeting Record

  • S/PV.6536 (16 May 2011) was the latest briefing by the chairmen of the 1267 Committee and the other two terrorism-related Council committees.

Other

  • S/2011/245 (13 April 2011) was the letter to the Council transmitting the eleventh report of the 1267 monitoring team.
  • S/2011/29 (21 January 2011) was the letter to the Council transmitting the first report of the office of the ombudsperson.

Other Relevant Facts 

Chair of the 1267 Committee

Ambassador Peter Wittig (Germany)

1267 Committee ombudsperson

Judge Kimberly Prost (Canada)

Useful Additional Source
The April letter from the group of like-minded countries on targeted sanctions, which contained proposals to improve the 1267 sanctions regime, can be found at http://www.news.admin.ch/NSBSubscriber/message/attachments/22759.pdf

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