Expected Council Action
In May, the Council is scheduled to receive its annual briefing from the chairs of its counter-terrorism-related committees. The briefers will be Ambassador Kairat Umarov (Kazakhstan), chair of the 1267/1989/2253 Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee; Ambassador Gustavo Meza-Cuadra (Peru), chair of the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC); and Ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorenty Solíz (Bolivia), chair of the 1540 Committee, which focuses on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Key Recent Developments
1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee
The Council unanimously adopted resolution 2368 on 20 July 2017, renewing and updating the 1267/1989/2253 sanctions regime. The updates are intended to better reflect the current and evolving threat presented by Al-Qaida and ISIL. The resolution also provides updates concerning the Office of the Ombudsperson, including communications among the Ombudsperson, the sanctions committee and petitioners. (The Ombudsperson position has been vacant since 7 August 2017.)
The Council adopted resolution 2396 on foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) and returnees on 21 December 2017. The resolution acknowledges that returning and relocating FTFs have participated in attacks in their countries of origin or third countries, including assaults on public spaces and civilian targets, and therefore present an immediate threat to member states. In aiming to address this threat, it calls on states to assess and investigate suspected individuals whom they have reasonable grounds to believe are terrorists, including suspected FTFs and their accompanying spouses, children and other family members.
The 1267/1989/2253 sanctions list, which was last updated on 29 March, currently contains the names of 257 individuals and 82 entities.
1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee
On 28 September 2017, Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov, the head of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), briefed the Council for the first time. Also briefing the Council were then-chair of the CTC, Ambassador Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta (Egypt), and David Scharia, the deputy head of the Assessment and Technical Assistance Office of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), the Secretariat body that assists the CTC.
On 21 December 2017, the Council adopted resolution 2395, renewing the mandate of CTED as a special political mission until 31 December 2021. The resolution addresses CTED’s functions within the wider UN system, including the relationship between CTED and the UNOCT. It provides a comprehensive text regarding CTED’s full mandate, which now encompasses cross-cutting issues, such as FTFs and countering violent extremism. It stresses that assessing the implementation of resolution 1373 and other relevant counter-terrorism resolutions is the core function of CTED.
On 9 April, Council members held an Arria-formula meeting on Peru’s initiative titled “Enhancing synergies between the United Nations and regional and subregional organisations to address the nexus between terrorism and transnational organised crime”. Among the briefers were CTED Executive Director Michèle Coninsx, the executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Under-Secretary-General Yuri Fedotov, and Voronkov.
On 12 April, Solíz held his annual Council briefing as the chair of the 1540 Committee. Solíz provided an overview of the programme of work for the upcoming year, which includes plans by the committee to hold deliberations on enforcing applicable laws for the prohibition of activities under paragraph 2 of resolution 1540. Solíz emphasised that reporting on the implementation of resolution 1540 remains one of the main priorities of the committee. He said that 180 out of 193 member states have submitted their national reports and that the committee will continue to work on achieving universal reporting as soon as possible. In addition, Solíz informed the Council that Bolivia planned to host a regional conference on the implementation of resolution 1540 for Latin American and Caribbean countries in May.
A key issue for the committees is to ensure that they are able to address the widening scope and various facets of the Council’s counter-terrorism agenda within their respective mandates.
A particular issue for the 1267/1989/2253 Committee is to continue to strengthen member states’ compliance with the sanctions regime.
A key issue for the 1540 Committee is the follow-up on implementation and reporting to the committee.
In the past, most counter-terrorism-related discussions were held in the Council’s subsidiary organs, but over the last two years the Council has discussed and adopted decisions on various aspects of counter-terrorism and related issues, including updating the Al-Qaida and ISIL sanctions regime and the mandate of CTED and addressing FTFs, returnees and others.
The importance of counter-terrorism efforts enjoys overall unanimity among Council members, notwithstanding divergences over the politicisation of the issue in the Middle East. However, frictions on certain issues remain, such as divergences between Russia and other member states over the identity of the new Ombudsperson to be appointed by the Secretary-General.
That some differences remain between Council members in their approach towards counter-terrorism was also evident during the negotiations over resolutions 2395 and 2396. For example, several states, mainly the western ones, took the view with respect to FTFs and returnees that states need to distinguish between FTFs and their families in their screening process rather than automatically assume they are complicit. Furthermore, they wanted the resolution to call on states to develop comprehensive prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration strategies to determine the most appropriate solution for FTFs and their families. However, Russia took the view that FTFs should be held criminally liable, and that family members travelling with FTFs are complicit and should, therefore, be held accountable.
UN DOCUMENTS ON COUNTER-TERRORISM
|Security Council Resolutions|
|21 December 2017 S/RES/2396||This was a resolution addressing the threat of foreign terrorist fighters.|
|21 December 2017 S/RES/2395||This resolution renewed the mandate of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) until 31 December 2021.|
|Security Council Letters|
|12 April 2018 S/2018/340||This was the 17th programme of work of the 1540 Committee.|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|12 April 2018 S/PV.8230||This was the annual briefing by the chair of the 1540 Committee.|
|13 February 2018 S/PV.8180||This was a briefing by the Chair of the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee, Gustavo Meza-Cuadra (Peru), on the implementation of resolution 2341 concerning critical infrastructure.|
|28 September 2017 S/PV.8059||Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov, the head of the newly-created UN Office of Counter-Terrorism; Ambassador Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta (Egypt) and David Scharia, Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate Deputy Head of the Assessment and Technical Assistance Office briefed the Council.|