Expected Council Action
In June, the Council is scheduled to receive the semi-annual briefing from the chairs of its counter-terrorism-related committees, possibly followed by a debate. The briefers will be Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen (New Zealand), chair of the 1267/1989 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee; Ambassador Raimonda Murmokaitė (Lithuania), chair of the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC); and Ambassador Román Oyarzun (Spain), chair of the 1540 Committee, which focuses on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Key Recent Developments
1267/1989 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee
According to its annual report, the Committee convened 12 informal consultations in 2014. At least 11 of the 31 new listings by the 1267/1989 Committee since September 2014 are related to the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters. At press time, two reports from the Committee’s Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team were expected to be released including recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the sanctions regime and the work of the Committee.
The Ombudsperson, Kimberly Prost, who is responsible for making recommendations on requests for removing names from the sanctions list, submitted her ninth report to the Council on 2 February. Since 31 July 2014, six new cases had been submitted to the Ombudsperson, bringing the total number of petitions received since the office was established to 61 as of 31 January. During the reporting period, three individuals and one entity were delisted on her recommendation.
On 12 February, the Council adopted resolution 2199, targeting some of the sources of funding of two Al-Qaida affiliates, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and Al-Nusra Front. Given the evidence that vehicles departing from or going to areas held by ISIS or Al-Nusra could be used to transfer economic resources for sale on international markets or to be bartered for arms, the resolution encourages neighbouring member states to prevent and disrupt activity that would result in violations of the asset freeze and targeted arms embargo and to report to the 1267/1989 Committee within 30 days of the interdiction in their territory.
1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee
The CTC has adopted its work programme for 2015, which includes holding two special meetings to discuss ways to stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters and to prevent terrorists from exploiting the internet and social media, while respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms. The CTC’s Executive Directorate, or CTED, is expected to release two reports to the CTC on gaps in the use of advance passenger information, as well as to identify gaps in member states’ capacities to implement Council resolutions 1373 and 1624 that may hinder their abilities to stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters. (Resolution 1373 of 28 September 2001 obliges states to criminalise the financing of terrorism and recruitment to terrorist groups. Resolution 1624 of 14 September 2005 calls upon member states to prohibit by law the incitement to commit terrorist acts.)
In a meeting on 25 February (the only formal 1540 Committee meeting so far this year), Oyarzun outlined his five main priorities as chair: concluding the comprehensive review of the implementation of resolution 1540 requested by resolution 1977, achieving universality in reporting by member states (19 states have yet to submit national implementation reports), improving the efficiency of matching offers of support with states requesting assistance, identifying regions that should be given particular attention and increasing the visibility of the work and role of the Committee as an essential instrument of non-proliferation.
On 30 January, Oyarzun submitted to the Council the Committee’s programme of work for the period 1 February 2015 to 30 January 2016. The Committee will continue to operate a system of four working groups, focused on monitoring and national implementation (chaired by Chile), assistance (chaired by France), cooperation with international organisations and other relevant UN bodies (chaired by Jordan) and transparency and media outreach (chaired by the US).
According to the work programme, a key task for the Committee this year will be preparing for the 2016 comprehensive review. The Committee will develop a plan for the review, identifying objectives, scope, timing and participants in the process by mid-2015 and then create and execute a strategy based on that plan by 31 August 2015.
In April the Committee agreed on a modalities paper outlining additional details for the review. As a first step, the working groups are required to develop work plans to be submitted to the Committee by 12 June for approval. The Committee is expected to approve these plans, including a schedule of outreach events, by 30 June. In June 2016, the Committee will hold formal open meetings on the review with UN member states, international organisations and civil society. The first draft of the report on the review should be ready for the Committee’s consideration by 1 September 2016 and a final report submitted to the Council by 31 October 2016. Although not explicitly stated in the modalities paper, it is understood that the outcome of the review process will be a new Council resolution endorsing the main findings.
A key issue for the 1267/1989 Committee is to address patterns of non-compliance with the sanctions regime by member states, either due to lack of will or capacity.
An important issue is to ensure that there is coherence between the Council’s subsidiary bodies in charge of assessing the implementation of relevant resolutions by member states (such as CTED) and the provision of technical assistance by bilateral and multilateral partners, such as the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) and the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre.
A key issue for the 1540 Committee is the 2016 comprehensive review.
Counter-terrorism appears to be one of the issues generating unanimous support among Council members, as well as high visibility for Council actions. Most of the differences among Council members are related not so much to this particular topic but rather as to its scope and potential for political misuse. Also, some Council members have stressed in the past that the 1267/1989 Committee—rather than the CTC whose scope is broader—should take the lead in tackling foreign terrorist fighters. Some Council members are not very supportive of the promotion of transparency about the Committee’s work.
In the 1540 Committee, there is general consensus about the importance of the Committee’s work. The preparations for the comprehensive review have so far progressed smoothly, although there are some differences among Council members in their emphasis on priorities, with developing countries attaching particular importance to the Committee’s role in facilitating assistance.
UN DOCUMENTS ON COUNTER-TERRORISM
|Security Council Resolutions|
|12 February 2015 S/RES/2199||Was on ISIS and Al-Nusra’s illicit funding via oil exports, traffic of cultural heritage, ransom payments and external donations.|
|17 June 2014 S/RES/2161||This resolution renewed the measures targeting Al-Qaida associated individuals and entities and extended the mandates of the Office of the Ombudsperson and the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team assisting the 1267/1989 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee for 30 months.|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|24 November 2014 S/PV.7319||This was the semi-annual briefing on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.|
|19 November 2014 S/PV.7316||This was a high-level open debate on counter-terrorism.|
|Sanctions Committee Documents|
|2 February 2015 S/2015/80||This included ninth report of the Ombudsperson to the Security Council|
|17 December 2014 S/2014/923||This was a report on the activities of the 1267/1989 Sanctions Committee in 2014.|
|Security Council Letters|
|30 January 2015 s/2015/75||This was from the chair of the 1540 Committee submitting its current programme of work to the Council.|