Security Council: Statement of the Chairman of Taliban & AlQaida sanctions committees

Nov 14, 2012

(Statement as delivered by Ambassador Wittig in his capacity as chairman of the committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) in a Security Council meeting on the work of subsidiary bodies, followed by a few words in his national capacity)

"In today’s briefing, I would like to provide an update on the activities and achievements of the Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) concerning Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities since my last briefing in May 2012. In my remarks I shall focus what the Committee considers to be the most important elements:

1. The evolving threat posed by Al-Qaida;

2. Maintaining an up-to-date and dynamic sanctions list; and

3. Fair and clear procedures.

A more detailed version of this statement will be distributed as hard copy today and made available on the Committee’s website.

I. The evolving threat posed by Al-Qaida

Al-Qaida and its associates continue to pose a threat to international peace and security, and this threat continues to evolve. While the operational impact of Al-Qaida's core leadership has declined since the death of Usama Bin Laden and several other key leaders, Al-Qaida networks have become an ever more complex phenomenon with an internationally diverse range of supporters and active fighters. Affiliate groups continue to be active in a number of regions worldwide and in many cases have managed to blend regional and local issues and interests with Al-Qaida’s global agenda in order to increase their appeal. 

Al-Qaida and its associates are working on re-building terrorist structures in Europe.  There is a continuing danger that individual acts of terror may occur in this theatre.

After thorough consideration and in-depth discussion, the Committee has transmitted the Monitoring Team’s 12th report to the Security Council, together with the Committee’s position on the recommendations. The report addressed the issue of the evolving terrorist threat. The Committee has now received the 13th report of the Monitoring Team and will begin its discussion of this document shortly. 

In light of the continuing threat posed by Al-Qaida and its affiliates, it is important for Member States to continue to make every effort to fully implement the measures outlined in resolution 1989 (2011).

The Committee remains committed to ensuring that the Al-Qaida Sanctions List is dynamic and responsive to the changing nature of the threat. The Committee recalls that it remains the responsibility of the Member States to ensure that the list of targeted individuals and entities accurately reflects the evolving threat posed by Al-Qaida through the submission of listing and delisting requests in a timely manner. In this context, the Committee also emphasises that it stands ready to receive from States names of individuals and groups associated with Al-Qaida in the Sahel region and notably in North Mali, in accordance with paragraph 24 of resolution 2056 and paragraph3 of resolution 2071, to be considered for designation on the Al-Qaida Sanctions List.

Measures adopted under Chapter VII are binding on all Member States, and the sanctions regime is most effective when States are well placed to facilitate implementation. The Committee, together with the Monitoring Team, continues to explore ways to collaborate with Member States to support implementation efforts.

II. Maintaining an up-to-date and dynamic sanctions list

Resolution 1989 (2011) directed the Committee to undertake the most extensive and regular review processes in any UN sanctions regime. The various specialised and periodic reviews ensure that the Al-Qaida Sanctions List is credible and effective as a tool in the fight against terrorism.

The Committee has undertaken three specialised reviews, as set out in resolution 1989. The Committee reviewed the list entries of 34 reportedly deceased individuals and 55 entities reported to have ceased to exist, resulting in 12 de-listings and 24 amendments to the List. In addition, the Committee reviewed 70 entries on the List that lacked identifying information necessary to ensure effective implementation of the sanctions measures.

The Committee has also completed in its first round of the so-called “triennial review”, in which 18 names were considered. This is a periodic review of all names which have not been reviewed in three or more years. It ensures that no name remains on the List in perpetuity. Every single entry undergoes a regular assessment by the Committee to determine whether continued listing remains appropriate.

III. Fair and Clear Procedures 

The sanctions regime benefits from increasingly fair and clear procedures. In light of the renewal of the Committee’s mandate next month, there will be an opportunity to review the procedures, possibly spelling them out in greater detail and rendering them more transparent.  The Office of the Ombudsperson continues to provide an important element of fair and clear procedures to the sanctions regime. The Office plays an important role in assisting the Committee to ensure that the list of designated individuals continues to reflect the current threat posed by Al-Qaida. 

Since the Committee’s last report, the Committee decided to de-list 6 individuals and one entity on the basis of reports submitted by the Ombudsperson. In addition, three Comprehensive Reports of the Ombudsperson are under consideration by the Committee, and the Ombudsperson has three cases in the dialogue phase and six cases in the information gathering phase.

The mandate of the Ombudsperson will also have to be renewed by the Security Council in December.  This will provide an opportunity to continue improving the procedures related to the Ombudsperson process. Questions to be addressed may include the modalities for information-sharing between the Office of the Ombudsperson and Member States.  Member States are strongly urged to provide all relevant information to the Ombudsperson, including providing any relevant confidential information, where appropriate.

On 26 July, the Committee held a meeting with Mr. Ben Emmerson, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism. Mr. Emmerson and the Committee exchanged views on questions relating to the fairness and effectiveness of the Ombudsperson process. Mr Emmerson has since published a report providing his assessment of the process, which the Committee will carefully consider. The Committee notes Mr. Emmerson’s recommendations regarding the use of evidence obtained under torture, and undertakes to give them close consideration.

Now, Mr. President,

I would like to add some words in my national capacity.

In early 2011, Germany assumed the Chair of the then 1267 Sanctions Committee, covering both Al-Qaida and the Taliban.  At the time Germany took the helm, there was a clear need for reforming the sanctions regime. 

Among other demands, there were calls to strengthen the due process elements.  Critics found remedies to listed individuals and entities insufficient.  Sanctions implementation was successfully challenged in various courts -- the “Kadi case” which made it (twice) to the European Court of Justice being most prominent. 

The challenges to the sanctions regime threatened to undermine the most important tool the Security Council has against Al Qaida.

There was a clear need for a determined response. In June 2011, the Security Council adopted its Resolutions 1988 and 1989 (2011) -- landmarks for UN sanctions policy. 

Of particular importance was the Security Council’s decision, in Resolution 1989, substantially to strengthen the role of the Ombudsperson for the Al-Qaida sanctions regime.  The Ombudsperson had been established in 2009 to assist the Sanctions Committee in processing applications for removing individuals from the sanctions list.

The conclusions of her reports on de-listing requests, previously of an advisory character, were upgraded to recommendations.  The Sanctions Committee can overrule these recommendations only by consensus.  However, any Committee member has the option of taking a case to the Security Council.

These review procedures have introduced an element of rule of law in the sanctions regime.  While the Special Rapporteur on the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights in Combating Terrorism, Ben Emmerson, has reminded us in his recent report that that “the mandate of the Ombudsperson still does not meet the structural due process requirement of objective independence from the Committee”, the Ombudsperson process represents important progress.  It has increased the credibility of the sanctions regime, and helps ensure the sanctions are implemented around the globe.

The Al Qaida sanctions regime is coming up for renewal in December.  Germany and the Group of Like-Minded Countries on Targeted Sanctions have prepared a number of proposals for the further development and fine-tuning of the regime.  Among these are

- Enhancing cooperation of States with the Ombudsperson for information gathering,

- Codifying the Ombudsperson practice,

- Improving procedural and material transparency, including disclosing the designating state, and clarifying listing criteria,

- Extending the Ombudsperson’s mandate,

- Allowing the Ombudsperson to transmit requests for humanitarian exemptions, and to assist persons or entities who are inadvertently affected by the sanctions regime,

- Imposing time limits for all listings,

- And administrative improvements.

I am confident that there will be serious discussion among Security Council members of these proposals.

As Chair and in the name of the Committee, I would like to thank all Member States for their continued willingness to cooperate constructively with the Committee, its Monitoring Team and the Office of the Ombudsperson. The Committee has brought many improvements to fruition in recent years, and remains committed to building upon these advancements.

Thank you, Mr President."

© GermanyUN

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