What's In Blue

Posted Mon 16 Jun 2014

Adoption of a Resolution Reviewing Al-Qaida Sanctions

Tomorrow (17 June), the Security Council is set to adopt a resolution proposed by the US reviewing the measures against individuals and entities affiliated with Al-Qaida. The resolution also modifies the mandates of the Office of the Ombudsperson and the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team assisting the 1267/1989 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee and extends them for thirty months after the current expiration of their mandates (17 June 2015). After first being negotiated by the P5, three rounds of negotiations were held among all Council members before the draft was put under silence procedure on Friday (13 June). As no Council member broke silence, it was put in blue earlier today.

The draft resolution expresses concern over some of the new phenomena related to the changing nature of the threat posed by Al-Qaida and its affiliates, including the increased use by terrorists and their supporters of new information and communications technologies, the flow of international recruits to Al-Qaida and associated groups as well as the abuse of non-profit and charitable organisations by and for terrorists. Following some of the recommendations included in the 26 December 2013 report of the Monitoring Team (S/2014/41), the draft resolution also includes provisions deciding that member states shall undertake appropriate measures to prevent the availability of components to all types of explosives, including improvised explosives (such as chemical components, detonating cord or poisons). It also encourages member states to submit photographs and other biometric data of listed individuals for inclusion in INTERPOL – UN Security Council Special Notices.

Along the lines of the last report of the Ombudsperson (S/2014/73) and the views of the Group of Like-Minded States on Targeted Sanctions (S/2014/286), some Council members pushed to improve the due process guarantees of the regime. The draft resolution includes a new 60-day deadline for the Committee, after discussing a recommendation of the Ombudsperson and deciding on it, to provide reasons for its decision to retain or terminate measures to the Ombudsperson. The reasons are then to be transmitted to the petitioner. To date, there has been no timeframe for providing this information, which has resulted in extensive delays in communicating the reasons by the Committee.

Some Council members also proposed that the petitioners should have access to the Ombudsperson’s reasons for recommending the delisting or the retention of the listing to the Committee. However, this proposal was dropped due to reluctance by some permanent members.

The Ombudsperson has been raising the issue of the follow-up on claims made by formerly listed individuals and entities that they were still mistakenly being subjected to sanctions. However, it seems that Council members decided that such claims should be adjudicated by the Sanctions Committee, after receiving the claims through the Focal Point.

The draft resolution also requests the Secretary-General to ensure the Office of the Ombudsperson has the continued ability to carry out its mandate in an independent, effective and timely manner. (In her last report, the Ombudsperson raised concerns about the confidentiality of her work given the obligations to submit substantive trip reports by UN staff members assisting her.) Furthermore, the resolution requests the Secretary-General to continue to strengthen the capacity of the Office of the Ombudsperson by providing necessary resources. (In a letter to Council members, the Group of Like-Minded States on Targeted Sanctions has argued that the Office of the Ombudsperson has no dedicated budget and is allotted funds through a budget which, by title, is that of the Monitoring Team.)

The draft resolution also adds some tasks to the Monitoring Team that were not clearly delineated in resolution 2083. For example, it calls for the Monitoring Team to provide recommendations to the Committee on cases of non-compliance with the sanctions regime and offer advice on actions to respond to those cases. Furthermore, the resolution tasks the Monitoring Team to consult with the Committee or member states when identifying individuals or entities that should be added or removed from the List.

A controversial issue, as has been the case in the past, was how to refer to kidnapping and hostage-taking by terrorist groups and the payment of ransom or political concessions. The accepted compromise was that the draft resolution recalls resolution 2133 of 27 January, which called on states “to prevent terrorists from benefiting directly or indirectly from ransom payments or from political concessions,” and the publication by the Global Counterterrorism Forum of the “Algiers Memorandum on Good Practices on Preventing and Denying the Benefits of Kidnapping for Ransom by Terrorists”. It appears that similar language on kidnapping for ransom will be included in the resolution resulting from the review of the 1988 Taliban Sanctions regime, also scheduled for adoption tomorrow.

Finally, the resolution requests the Secretary-General to make all list entries and narrative summaries of reasons for listing available in all official languages of the UN. Following concerns by a few Council members, the resolution also notes the unique circumstances of this request.

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