UN Security Council Stresses Need for Due Process in Al-Qaida Sanctions Regime

NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–28 February 2011 – While underlining the importance of the United Nations sanctions regime against individuals and entities linked to the Taliban or Al-Qaida as an essential tool in fighting terrorism, the Security Council today also stressed the need for fair and due process for those implicated.

In a presidential statement, the 15-member body welcomed the first report of the Office of the Ombudsperson, which it set up 14 months ago to help the Council’s Sanctions Committee decide on the merit of petitions by people or entities seeking to be removed from the so-called Consolidated List that imposes mandatory assets freezes, travel bans and arms embargoes.

The List stems from Council resolution 1267 of 1999 and related resolutions requiring all member states to impose sanctions on Osama bin Laden, the Taliban and those associated with them.

“The Security Council underlines the important role of the ombudsperson in ensuring fair and clear procedures for individuals designated pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999) and encourages individuals seeking delisting from the Consolidated List to pursue their case through the ombudsperson,” the statement said, adding that it intends to renew the office’s mandate when it expires in June.

In her report, Ombudsperson Kimberly Prost underscored the office’s key tasks of independence and accessibility, noting that so far it had received seven de-listing requests and accepted six of them for investigation, all involving association with Al-Qaida – five of them from individuals and one from an entity.

“In particular, the aim is to make maximum use of the accorded mandate to provide fair and due process to petitioners,” she wrote, stressing that she was trying to draw out as much information about the specific cases as possible from states and, while strictly adhering to confidentiality constraints, presenting it to the petitioner so that he or she can be fully informed of the case against him or her.

She noted the office’s ability to provide detailed information and thorough analysis to assist the Committee depends heavily on the cooperation of states, which have so far been cooperative, but cited possible confidentiality restrictions that would prevent disclosing the identity of the designating state to the petitioner as a potential impediment to the delivery of effective due process.

“A petitioner may face a significant disadvantage in answering a case without knowing the identity of the state or states that proposed the listing,” she wrote. She also called for the provision of resources “commensurate with its responsibilities and case load,” including for travel where necessary, noting that “existing cases are already taxing the resources to the maximum and it is anticipated that this case load will continue to grow.”

The Council said it would respond to Ms. Prost’s observations and requests when renewing the office’s mandate in June.

The Consolidated List currently comprises 256 individuals and 92 entities linked to Al-Qaida and 137 individuals linked to the Taliban, while 45 individuals and 45 entities have been de-listed, including 12 Taliban individuals, nine Taliban entities, 33 Al-Qaida individuals and 36 Al-Qaida entities.

Echoing past resolutions and statements, the Council denounced terrorism as “one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, the enjoyment of human rights, the social and economic development of all member states,” stressed that it undermined global stability and prosperity, and recalled its own “primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security under the Charter of the United Nations.”