What's In Blue

Posted Mon 10 Jun 2024

Counter-Terrorism: Vote on a Draft Resolution on the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Regime*

This afternoon (10 June), the Security Council is expected 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 includes provisions extending the mandates of the 1267/1988 Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team and the Office of the Ombudsperson for another three years, until June 2027. The current mandates of the Monitoring Team and the Ombudsperson expire on 17 June.


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. The listing criteria for these sanctions 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.

Negotiations on the Draft Resolution

The US, the penholder on this issue, circulated the first draft of the resolution to all Council members on 14 May. Following two rounds of negotiations and a second draft, a third draft was put under silence on 29 May. Silence was subsequently broken by China, Mozambique, and Russia on 4 June. The penholder then put a fourth draft directly in blue on 6 June and postponed the vote from 7 June to this afternoon.

Overall, the draft resolution in blue does not make sweeping changes to the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL and Al-Qaida sanctions regime and is largely similar to resolution 2610, which last updated and renewed the regime in December 2021. It seems that the negotiations were difficult, however, with divisions emerging among Council members regarding a proposal to add, as a standalone listing criterion, acts involving sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) carried out in connection with ISIL or Al-Qaida. The institutional independence of the Ombudsperson and the possible involvement of the Monitoring Team in listing proposals were also significant issues during the negotiations.

It appears that the penholder proposed adding acts of SGBV as a standalone listing criterion and included text to this effect in the first draft of the resolution. The language proposed by the penholder included several specific examples of acts of SGBV, such as abduction, sexual violence, enslavement, and forced marriage. Human trafficking was also included as an example of SGBV during the negotiations, apparently following a suggestion from Malta. Consequential changes encouraging information exchange between relevant UN entities regarding measures to curb SGBV and requesting the Monitoring Team to discuss human trafficking and sexual violence in its consultations with member states were also added to the first draft by the penholder.

Although the penholder’s proposal was strongly supported by a majority of Council members, it was opposed by Algeria, China, Mozambique, and Russia. It appears that these members raised several arguments in opposing the US proposal, with some apparently contending that acts involving SGBV are already covered by the existing listing criteria. Those who supported the US proposal apparently noted that the Council has previously expressed an intention to consider targeted sanctions for specific acts of SGBV carried out in connection with ISIL or Al-Qaida and that a standalone criterion would help to facilitate more designations for such acts.

China and Russia apparently suggested compromise language, but these suggestions were unacceptable to other members, who argued that they would make it more difficult to designate individuals or entities for acts of SGBV connected to ISIL or Al-Qaida. China, Mozambique, and Russia broke silence over this issue, prompting the US to engage in a series of bilateral consultations. In an apparent compromise, the draft resolution in blue includes a new operative paragraph which recognises that acts involving SGBV may be eligible for designation under the existing listing criteria when such acts are used by ISIL or Al-Qaida and their associates as a tactic of terrorism. The text encouraging information exchanges between relevant UN entities and requesting the Monitoring Team to discuss human trafficking and sexual violence with member states was also retained in the draft text in blue.

Council members also discussed the institutional independence of the Ombudsperson during the negotiations. The most recent report of the Ombudsperson, which was issued on 28 March, noted that a “lack of institutional autonomy” remains an unresolved issue. To address this concern, Switzerland apparently suggested adding language intended to facilitate greater independence for the Office of the Ombudsperson. While this suggestion was supported by some members—including Ecuador, Malta, and Slovenia—it garnered less support among other members. It seems that France in particular expressed scepticism regarding the proposed language. After China, Russia, and Mozambique broke silence, Switzerland, with the support of other elected members, apparently submitted comments pushing for its original proposal to be incorporated into the draft. The draft resolution in blue includes slight changes to the relevant paragraph but does not appear to fully incorporate the amendments proposed by Switzerland.

Language encouraging the Monitoring Team to assemble statements of case for listing proposals, which was suggested by the US, was another issue during the negotiations. (Statements of case are provided to the Committee by member states who make listing proposals and include reasons describing the proposed basis for listing.) The US suggestion was opposed by China and Russia. These members apparently noted that, unlike other groups of experts that monitor UN sanctions regimes, the Monitoring Team has an analytical rather than investigative mandate and argued that assembling statements of case would be inconsistent with this mandate and could jeopardise its ability to obtain information from member states. Some members apparently understood China and Russia’s concerns but did not directly oppose the US proposal, while at least one member queried whether the Monitoring Team would be able to reach consensus when preparing statements of case. In an apparent effort to address these concerns, the penholder added language encouraging the Monitoring Team to provide necessary technical assistance and consult with member states in assembling statements of case, as well as text clarifying that individual experts could fulfil this role. Ultimately, the language encouraging the Monitoring Team to assemble statements of case was removed from the draft text in blue.


Post-script: On 10 June, the Security Council adopted resolution 2734 which, among other matters, extended the mandates of the Monitoring Team and the Ombudsperson until June 2027. It received 14 votes in favour and one abstention (Russia).

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