June 2024 Monthly Forecast

Posted 1 June 2024
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Expected Council Action

In June, the Security Council is scheduled to vote on a draft resolution on the 1267/1989/2253 Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) and Al-Qaida sanctions regime. The draft resolution will include provisions extending the mandates of the 1267/1988 Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team and the Office of the Ombudsperson, both of which expire in June. The first draft of this resolution was circulated to all Council members in mid-May.

Background and Key Recent Developments

The 1267/1989/2253 ISIL and Al-Qaida sanctions regime imposes an assets freeze, a travel ban, and an arms embargo on individuals and entities associated with ISIL or Al-Qaida. Resolution 2610, which last renewed and updated the regime in December 2021, sets out the listing criteria for these sanctions, which include participating in the acts or activities of ISIL or Al-Qaida; selling weapons to ISIL or Al-Qaida; and recruiting for ISIL or Al-Qaida.

The 1267/1989/2253 ISIL and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee is a subsidiary organ of the Council established to oversee the regime. Its tasks include designating individuals and entities who meet the listing criteria, responding to requests for sanctions exemptions, reporting annually to the Council, and conducting outreach activities. The Monitoring Team supports the work of the Committee by, among other things, preparing written reports on the implementation of the sanctions and other topics, assisting with listing proposals, and gathering information on the Committee’s behalf. The Ombudsperson receives delisting requests and reports to the Committee regarding these requests. These reports include a recommendation on how the Committee should respond to the delisting request. While the Committee has the power to overturn the Ombudsperson’s requests in certain circumstances, this has not happened to date. Richard Malanjum, the former Chief Justice of Malaysia, is the current Ombudsperson.

The Monitoring Team’s latest report was issued on 29 January. It concluded that the threat posed by ISIL and Al-Qaida remains high in conflict zones and neighbouring countries and observed that threat levels have risen in other regions, including Europe. Regarding West Africa and the Sahel, the report noted that greater freedom of movement and closer links between terrorist groups have raised fears that they could establish a safe operating base in the region. The report further analysed the situation in South and Central Asia, noting that while the activities of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan (ISIL-K)—ISIL’s Afghan affiliate—have decreased in Afghanistan, member states nonetheless remain concerned about the group’s ability to project attacks beyond Afghanistan’s borders. The threat posed by the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan was also considered in the report, which concluded that the group poses a regional threat and has the capacity to conduct transnational operations from bases inside Afghanistan.

The Monitoring Team made two recommendations in the report: stressing the need for member states to share additional information regarding entries on the sanctions list and proposing that the Committee direct the Monitoring Team to assess whether to update the standard form for listing requests and consider if there are any tools that could be used to manage the sanctions list more effectively. In a 27 February letter, the Committee accepted these recommendations.

The most recent report of the Ombudsperson was issued on 28 March. Among other matters, the report noted that the Ombudsperson’s “lack of institutional autonomy” remains an unresolved issue. According to the report, the Ombudsperson briefed the Committee on this issue on 30 November 2023 and highlighted several long-standing problems, such as the reporting line of the Ombudsperson’s staff, the lack of decision-making power regarding expenses, security of tenure, and “the contractual status and conditions of service of the Ombudsperson as a consultant”. The Ombudsperson also discussed the need to ensure continuity if they are unable to fulfil their duties or if there is a gap between the end of one Ombudsperson’s tenure and the beginning of another. At present, the 1267/1989/2253 sanctions regime does not include a deputy Ombudsperson who could fulfil this role.

In November 2023, the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) issued a report on accountability for sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) linked to terrorism. Citing a gender and counter-terrorism expert, the report noted that “designating individuals or entities for UN sanctions due to their involvement in SGBV linked to terrorism could serve as a tool to discourage and penalise those engaged in activities that undermine international peace and security”.

Key Issues and Options

Deciding whether to update the 1267/1989/2253 sanctions regime is a key issue for the Council. The Council could choose to update the regime by adding SGBV as a standalone listing criterion. This would align with the Council’s previously stated intention, as expressed in resolution 2610, to consider targeted sanctions against individuals and entities associated with ISIL or Al-Qaida involved in human trafficking and sexual violence in conflict. The Council could also make consequential changes to the regime specifically directing the Monitoring Team to collect relevant information from member states in order to assist the Committee with its decision-making regarding this issue.

Given the long-standing concerns regarding the Ombudsperson’s independence, the Council could request that the Secretary-General reconstitute the institutional arrangements currently in place with a view to addressing the issues that have been raised by the current Ombudsperson and his predecessors.

The Council could also encourage member states to consult with the Monitoring Team when preparing listing proposals. The Monitoring Team’s July 2023 report noted that member states sometimes lack an adequate understanding of the relevant procedure and said that this can have an adverse effect on listing proposals. Encouraging consultations with the Monitoring Team could help resolve this issue.

Council Dynamics

In general, counter-terrorism enjoys the support of all Council members. Members do, however, focus on different aspects of the issue. Some members favour an approach that is founded on human rights, prevention, and the involvement of civil society, while other members prefer to focus more closely on security and law enforcement.

During negotiations concerning the previous update to the 1267/1989/2253 sanctions regime, which took place in December 2021, Council members generally agreed that the regime functions effectively as currently formulated and that no major amendments were required. Discussions apparently centred on references to the effects of counter-terrorism measures on humanitarian activities, updates to the institutional arrangements for the Ombudsperson and the asset freeze measures, and a proposed reporting requirement for the Monitoring Team relating to ISIL’s activities in Africa.

Certain then-Council members, including some of the European members, apparently proposed establishing the Ombudsperson as a distinct UN entity and appointing a deputy Ombudsperson to fill the role if the Ombudsperson is absent. It seems that these proposals were opposed by other members, including China and Russia, and they were not included in resolution 2610. (For more information on the negotiations, see our What’s in Blue story of 17 December 2021.)

In 2016, when the Council adopted resolution 2331 on sexual violence and human trafficking, several members, including China, Russia, and the US, expressed concern about expanding the work of the Council’s sanctions committees. These concerns led to changes in the tasks for the Monitoring Team set out in the resolution. (For more information, see our What’s in Blue story of 19 December 2016.)

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Security Council Resolutions
17 December 2021S/RES/2610 This resolution renewed and updated the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) & Al-Qaida sanctions regime.
20 December 2016S/RES/2331 This was the first-ever resolution on human trafficking, which condemned the phenomenon and stressed how human trafficking can exacerbate conflict and foster insecurity.

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