December 2013 Monthly Forecast

Posted 27 November 2013
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THEMATIC ISSUES

Counter-Terrorism

Expected Council Action

The Council is expected in December to adopt a resolution renewing the mandate of the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED), the Secretariat body that assists the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC). The CTC plans to submit a report to the Council in December on the CTED’s work to date.

CTED’s mandate expires on 31 December.

Key Recent Developments

On 28 September 2001, the Council adopted resolution 1373 in which, acting under Chapter VII, it decided that all states should prevent and criminalise the financing of terrorist acts, as well as support to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts. The Council called upon member states to intensify cooperation on movements of terrorists and on administrative and judicial matters to prevent the commission of terrorist acts and established the CTC to monitor the implementation of the measures. On 26 March 2004, resolution 1535 established CTED as a special political mission to support the work of the CTC.

Since December 2010, when the Council adopted resolution 1963 extending its mandate for three years, the CTED has been involved in assessing the implementation of resolutions 1373 and 1624 (the latter called upon member states to criminalise the incitement to commit terrorist acts). In 2011 and 2012, CTED released surveys of the global implementation of resolutions 1373 and 1624, respectively.

As Ambassador Mohammed Loulichki (Morocco), the chair of the CTC, told the Council on 10 May, the Committee has replaced its previous tools to assess implementation of the above-mentioned resolutions. Instead of a preliminary implementation assessment, it now uses a detailed implementation survey and an overview of implementation assessment. These two new diagnostic tools aim at identifying gaps and challenges in member states’ implementation of the relevant Council resolutions and facilitate the delivery of targeted technical assistance. (At press time, the semi-annual joint briefing by the chairs of the three counter-terrorism committees was scheduled to take place on 27 November.)

CTED has so far visited 88 member states, each visiting mission comprising a few international organisations that complete a joint overview of implementation assessment. CTED’s follow-up to these assessment missions might include facilitating technical assistance in cases where member states do not have the necessary capacity.

CTED has conducted a number of workshops on specific topics and regions related to its mandate. Most of these workshops were organised in partnership with relevant regional and subregional organisations, such as the League of Arab States, the EU, the Caribbean Community, the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Human Rights-Related Developments

On 25 October, the Third Committee of the General Assembly heard presentations about two separate reports on the issue of armed drones. The report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Ben Emmerson, focused on the use of armed drones in counter-terrorism operations and its civilian impact (A/68/389). The report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, analysed the use of lethal force through armed drones from the perspective of the right to life and international norms (A/68/382 and Corr.1). Both Emmerson and Heyns underlined that there was no need for new laws but instead the imperative was to achieve clarity about the existing legal framework and to ensure its implementation. They both stressed the importance of greater transparency from the states using drones and the need to provide mechanisms for investigation, accountability and redress for potentially unlawful strikes. Heyns identified legal controversies in the use of drones, including the scope of self-defence and the issue of anticipatory self-defence. Emmerson identified three key challenges: the difficulty of defining “civilian casualties” when drones are used, the lack of transparency and the ambiguity about some of the key principles of international law and their relevance to modern forms of asymmetrical conflict. Emmerson will submit a final report to the Human Rights Council in 2014 examining the facts surrounding a sample of particular drone strikes. His inquiry is a response to requests made by several states at the 20th session of the HRC in June 2012 to carry out an investigation on the use of drones in counter-terrorism operations.

Key Issues

An issue for the Council is to ensure the widespread implementation of resolution 1373, including the criminalisation of terrorism, the freezing of terrorism-related assets and effective border and arms control. A related issue is ensuring the implementation of resolution 1624 in order to prevent acts of incitement to commit terrorism.

A key issue is to ensure the coordination between the Secretariat and UN funds and programmes that work on counter-terrorism-related issues to avoid duplication of efforts. Clarifying the division of labour among CTED, the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) and the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) is a related issue.

Another issue for the Council is whether to renew CTED’s mandate for three years or longer.

Options

Possible options for the renewal of the mandate for three or more years include:

  • extending CTED’s mandate as it currently exists;
  • strengthening CTED’s mandate in terms of identification of good practices, knowledge management and highlighting research on innovative approaches;
  • assigning the Secretary-General to coordinate the various UN entities working on counter-terrorism-related issues to ensure coherence of UN action and to avoid duplication of efforts;
  • reinforcing CTED’s mandate to identify challenges and gaps in the implementation of the relevant resolutions and to facilitate the provision of technical assistance to member states by engaging in a dialogue with prospective multilateral and bilateral donors on the needs that a member state cannot meet by itself; or
  • narrowing CTED’s mandate to the assessment of the implementation of relevant resolutions by member states.

Council and Wider Dynamics

Council members are in agreement on the need for an extension of CTED’s mandate and the importance of its work. CTED has recommended to the CTC that its mandate be extended for more than three years to ensure sustainability and the ability to assess longer-term results, but some Council members consider that a renewal of three to four years allows for more flexibility to fine-tune the mandate more often.

In terms of the substance, it seems no major changes are expected to be incorporated in the resolution. Most Council members are aware that coordination among the myriad of UN bodies tackling this issue is needed, but an agreement has yet to be finalised on how this mechanism should work. Also, some Council members seem to be reluctant to focus too much on monitoring and to give the technical-assistance component of CTED’s mandate to the CTITF and the UNCCT, as that would mean the Council would lose control over a key follow-up mechanism for the implementation of resolutions 1373 and 1624.

The US is the penholder on this issue.

UN Documents on Counter-Terrorism

Security Council Resolutions
20 December 2010 S/RES/1963 This resolution extended the mandate of the Counter-Terrorism Committee’s Executive Directorate (CTED) until 31 December 2013, with an interim review to be conducted by 30 June 2012 and an updated global implementation survey of resolution 1373 to be completed by 30 June 2011. The resolution encouraged CTED to focus increased attention on resolution 1624 (2005) and to produce a report on that resolution’s implementation by 31 December 2011.
14 September 2005 S/RES/1624 This resolution called on states to take further measures to combat terrorism.
26 March 2004 S/RES/1535 This resolution established the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED).
12 November 2001 S/RES/1377 This resolution called on states to become party to the relevant international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism, to implement 1373 and to assist each other in doing so.
28 September 2001 S/RES/1373 This resolution placed barriers on the movement, organisation and fund-raising activities of terrorist groups and imposed legislative, policy and reporting requirements on member states to assist the global struggle against terrorism. It also established a Counter-Terrorism Committee to monitor state compliance with these provisions.
Security Council Meeting Records
27 November 2013 S/PV.7071 This was the semi-annual briefing of the chairs of its counter-terrorism-related committees: Ambassador Gary Quinlan (Australia), who chairs the 1267/1989 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee; Ambassador Mohammed Loulichki (Morocco), who chairs the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee; and Ambassador Kim Sook (Republic of Korea), who chairs the 1540 Committee, concerning the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
10 May 2013 S/PV.6964 This was the semi-annual briefing by the chairs of its counterterrorism-related committees.
Security Council Letters
17 June 2013 S/2013/364 This letter informed the Council of the Secretary-General’s intention to appoint Jean-Paul Laborde (France) as Executive Director of CTED.
6 January 2012 S/2012/16 This was the CTED global implementation survey of resolution 1624.
17 August 2011 S/2011/463 This was the CTED global implementation survey of resolution 1373.
General Assembly Documents
8 September 2006 A/RES/60/288 This was the General Assembly resolution adopting the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.