Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Organised Crime
Expected Council Action
In July, the Council is scheduled to hold an open debate on the linkages between terrorism and organised crime. The briefers are expected to be Under-Secretary-General Yuri Fedotov, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) Michèle Coninsx; and Tamara Makarenko, chief operating officer of Sibylline, a strategic risk consultancy firm based in the UK.
A resolution may be adopted during the open debate or later in the month.
Background and Key Recent Developments
The issue of organised crime and its relationship to international peace and security has been a point of discussion—and certainly disagreement—among Council members over the last few years.
On 19 December 2014, during the presidency of Chad, the Council held an open debate that focused on the linkages between transnational organised crime and terrorism. Chad’s concept note for the open debate emphasised that the debate was particularly focused on the intersection of those two phenomena in Africa, but they would also consider their broader impact on international peace and security. The Secretary-General’s report on the work of the UN in fighting terrorism in Africa of 9 January 2014 was also considered during the meeting. Chad’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Moussa Faki Mahamat, presided over the meeting, and Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman and the AU Permanent Observer to the UN, Téte António, briefed.
Resolution 2195, stressing the need to work collectively to prevent and combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including terrorism benefiting from transnational organised crime, was adopted during the debate. It called on states to strengthen border management to prevent the movement of terrorists and terrorist groups. Among other things, it encouraged member states to enhance cooperation and strategies to prevent terrorists from benefiting from transnational organised crime, and to build the capacity to secure their borders and investigate and prosecute terrorists and the criminals working with them. It also stressed the importance of strengthening transregional and international cooperation, and for UN entities and other relevant international and regional organisations to support the development and strengthening of the capacities of national and regional institutions, particularly law enforcement and counter-terrorism agencies, to address terrorism benefitting from transnational organised crime.
Throughout its term on the Council, Peru has focused on the nexus between organised crime and terrorism. During its previous presidency, it organised an Arria-formula meeting on 9 April 2018 on “enhancing synergies between the United Nations and regional and subregional organisations to address the nexus between terrorism and transnational organised crime”.
On 8 May 2018, the Council adopted a presidential statement expressing concern about the close connection between international terrorism and transnational organised crime. It called on states to prevent terrorists from benefiting from the financial proceeds of transnational organised crime and recalled their obligations to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism for any purpose. It further called on states, as well as international, regional, and subregional organisations, to continue conducting research to better understand the nature and scope of the links that may exist between terrorists and criminal networks. The statement also requested the 1267/1989/2253 Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, the CTC and the 1988 Afghanistan Sanctions Committee to hold a joint meeting on this issue within 12 months.
Ambassador Gustavo Meza-Cuadra Velásquez (Peru), chair of the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), briefed the wider membership on 8 October 2018 to help strengthen the understanding of the intersections between terrorism and organised crime, notably in connection with human trafficking, committed for the purpose of supporting terrorism. He also spoke about links between both drug trafficking and arms trafficking with terrorism.
On 26 April 2019, the CTC, the 1267/1989/2253 Sanctions Committee and the 1988 Afghanistan Sanctions Committee held a special joint meeting on the nexus between international terrorism and organised crime, which was open to member states. The meeting focused on regional strategies, responses, and lessons learned in addressing the linkages between terrorism and organised crime, and it underlined the need for strengthened domestic, regional and international cooperation on the issue.
Resolution 2462 adopted on 28 March on the financing of terrorism also addresses the linkages between terrorism and transnational organised crime. It recognises that the nature and scope of these linkages vary by context, and emphasises the need to coordinate efforts at all levels levels to respond to this challenge, in accordance with international law. It also encourages states, as well as the UN, to continue conducting research and collecting information to better understand the nature and scope of the links that may exist between terrorism, in particular the financing of terrorism, and transnational organised crime.
Key Issues and Options
The Council may adopt a resolution reiterating its previous decisions on the nexus between terrorism and transnational organised crime. While acknowledging that terrorist groups and criminal groups differ in their nature, actions and incentives, and thus should not be conflated, the Council may emphasise that in order to address properly the threat of terrorism, these two types of groups should not be viewed in isolation. In this context, the Council may stress the importance of interagency cooperation between states’ intelligence agencies, which deal with counter-terrorism, and law enforcement agencies, which deal with transnational organised crime. It may also encourage cooperation between the public and private sectors to curtail criminal activities that assist terrorist activities.
Council and Wider Dynamics
In general, counter-terrorism enjoys the support of all Council members, but there are some differences in approach to the relevance of transnational organised crime for the Council’s work on counter-terrorism. Some members see transnational organised crime as a law enforcement issue and are wary of the Council’s encroaching on matters that are within the mandate of other UN organs, such as the General Assembly and UNODC. Others stress that where criminal groups and networks enable or assist terrorist activities, whether financially, logistically, or in other ways, the Council should consider how to curb such actions as part of its counter-terrorism agenda.
UN DOCUMENTS ON COUNTER-TERRORISM
|Security Council Resolutions
|28 March 2019S/RES/2462
|This was a resolution on combatting the financing of terrorism.
|22 December 2014S/RES/2195
|This was a resolution that addressed the role of transnational organised crime in supporting terrorism.
|Security Council Presidential Statements
|8 May 2018S/PRST/2018/9
|This was a presidential statement expressing concern about the close connection between international terrorism and transnational organised crime.
|9 January 2014S/2014/9
|This was on the UN’s support for states and regional entities in Africa in fighting terrorism.
|Security Council Meeting Records
|19 December 2014S/PV.7351
|This was an open debate which focused on the linkages between transnational organised crime and terrorism.
|Security Council Letters
|4 December 2014S/2014/869
|This was a concept note circulated by Chad for the open debate which focused on the linkages between transnational organised crime and terrorism.