Expected Council Action
In June, the Council is likely to adopt a resolution reviewing and possibly modifying the measures imposed in resolution 2083 on individuals and entities associated with Al-Qaida. The mandates of Ombudsperson and the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team assisting the 1267/1989 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee might also be modified.
The mandates of the Ombudsperson and the Monitoring Team expire on 17 June 2015.
Key Recent Developments
The Ombudsperson, Kimberly Prost, submitted her seventh report to the Council on 31 January (S/2014/73). The report highlights that 51 delisting petitions have been submitted since the Office was established, of which 43 cases have been completed. They resulted in the delisting of 31 individuals and 27 entities and the removal of one entity that was an alias of a listed entity, as well as the rejection of three delisting requests. In addition, one petition has been withdrawn. The Committee delisted three individuals before the Ombudsperson process was completed.
On 3 January, Jaber Abdallah Jaber Alhmad al-Jalahmah, a petitioner from Kuwait, was delisted following the Ombudsperson’s recommendation and then listed again that same day. In a press release, the Committee stated that it had received new information concerning his recent support for Al-Qaida-related entities. A permanent Council member had not made the information available to the Ombudsperson at the time she delivered her report, so the Committee first approved the petition for removal from the list based on her report and then decided to re-list him based on the new information. (Regarding access to classified or confidential information, the Ombudsperson only has one formal agreement with Austria and arrangements with Australia, Belgium, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Switzerland and the UK.)
On 26 December 2013, the Monitoring Team circulated its 15th report to the Committee (S/2014/41). The report stresses that although Al-Qaida has not recovered its former strength, it remains a threat, mostly through its often autonomous affiliates. The report focused on enhancing the implementation of sanctions by deterring ransom payments, using biometrics, making changes to national inadmissible passenger criteria and improving measures to limit the availability of components for improvised explosive devices.
On 22 May, the Committee decided to list Boko Haram. The narrative summary for the listing states that Boko Haram has maintained a relationship with Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb for training and material support purposes. The request was put forward by Nigeria following a 17 May summit on Boko Haram in Paris. A 19 May letter from France and Nigeria referred Council members specifically to the summit commitment to accelerate “the implementation of international sanctions against Boko Haram, Ansaru and their main leaders, within the UN framework as a priority.” At press time, Boko Haram offshoot Ansaru was still not listed.
The key issue is whether there is a need to modify the Al-Qaida sanctions regime to improve its effectiveness and address better the evolving nature of the terrorist threat. Another key issue is to improve the fairness of the listing and delisting mechanisms.
One option for the Council is to conclude that no changes to the Al-Qaida sanctions are currently needed.
Another option would be to adopt a resolution:
- including provisions to limit the availability of components for improvised explosive devices;
- requesting the Secretary-General to effectively create the Office of the Ombudsperson with improved contractual arrangements for the Ombudsperson to ensure independence;
- encouraging all member states to establish mechanisms to share confidential or classified information with the Ombudsperson;
- mandating the Ombudsperson to follow up on claims of continued sanctions measures despite delisting;
- mandating the Committee, when conducting the triennial review, to refer cases to the Ombudsperson in which no state objects or presents a delisting request or in which the information submitted is insufficient or conflicting;
- imposing time constraints for the reasons to retain or delist to be delivered to the petitioner by the Ombudsperson (when the decision is taken following her recommendation) or the Committee (in case of a reversal); and
- mandating the Ombusperson to make public the reasons for recommending delisting or retaining a listing.
Council and Wider Dynamics
Four years after her appointment, Council members actively support the work of the Ombudsperson. In no case did the Committee take a decision contrary to her recommendation, and no matter was referred to the Security Council. (In the al-Jalahmah case, instead of reversing the Ombudsperson’s recommendation, the Committee decided to delist as recommended by the Ombudsperson on the basis of the information provided to her, and then relist due to previously unavailable information.)
Some Council members are of the view that several improvements in the mandate of the Ombudsperson are necessary. Some of these positions are reflected in the views of the Group of Like-Minded States on Targeted Sanctions (Austria, Belgium, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland). Some permanent Council members (which are also reluctant to share relevant intelligence with the Ombudsperson) seem to think that only minimal adjustment is needed as considerable improvements of due process procedures have already been done.
Even though the Monitoring Team had included information on Boko Haram and its affiliation with Al-Qaida in its reports to the Council since October 2012, the listing only happened following the media attention and pressure on Nigeria after the abduction of approximately 276 girls on 5 April. At press time, it was not entirely clear why Ansaru, which according to the Monitoring Report has “close Al-Qaida connections” had not been listed in addition to Boko Haram, which is “a complex group with looser links to Al-Qaida” (S/2013/467).
UN DOCUMENTS ON COUNTER-TERRORISM
|Security Council Resolution|
|17 December 2012 S/RES/2083||This resolution renewed the mandate of the Al-Qaida sanctions committee (1267/1989) Ombudsperson for 30 months.|
|Security Council Letters|
|31 January 2014 S/2014/73||This letter included the report of the Ombudsperson.|
|22 January 2014 S/2014/41||This letter included the report of the Monitoring Team.|
|2 August 2013 S/2013/467||This letter included the 14th report of the Monitoring Team.|