I have the honour to speak on behalf of the informal group of like-minded States, comprising Belgium, Costa Rica, Denmark, Germany, Finland, the Netherlands, Liechtenstein, Sweden, Switzerland and my own country, Norway.
The members of the European Union Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden align themselves with the statement delivered by the delegation of the European Union.
We are grateful for this opportunity to contribute to the Council’s discussion on the work of the three subsidiary committees in question, and we thank the respective chairpersons for their briefings today. The Council and the 1267 Committee have taken significant steps to further strengthen the due process elements in the work of the Committee. It is against this backdrop that the informal group of like-minded States makes this intervention today. In doing so, I should underline that the group supports and fully recognises the application of targeted sanctions as a useful and necessary tool to effectively combat international terrorism. Our position has been guided by the aim of strengthening the regime established by resolution 1267 (1999) in order to make this regime more credible and thus more effective.
First of all, we commend the 1267 Committee, under the leadership of Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting of Austria, for having completed the review, of all the persons and entities on the Committee’s Consolidated List on 30 July this year. The review is an important achievement, as the removal of 45 entries, including nine deceased persons, strengthens the credibility of the system. Many member States have made important contributions to the Committee’s review. We should also like to recognise the efforts and hard work of the Secretariat and the Monitoring Team in this process. We are also pleased to note that the number of narrative summaries posted on the Committee’s website continues to grow.
In the view of the like-minded States, the adoption of resolution 1904 (2009) is a major step forward in strengthening due process guarantees, in particular for persons or entities that wish to be removed from the Consolidated List. The creation of the position of an Ombudsperson to assist the Committee when it considers requests for delisting is of course the main feature introduced by resolution 1904 (2010). We commend the Secretary-General for the appointment in June this year of Judge Kimberly Prost to serve as Ombudsperson. Judge Prost has a wealth of experience in a number of legal disciplines as well as in the counter-terrorism field. We are confident that she will execute her important mandate to the full satisfaction of all involved parties, and we pledge full support to and cooperation with Judge Prost and her office.
The Ombudsperson receives and considers requests for removal of entries from the Consolidated List. To this end, she engages with individuals, entities and States in order to obtain a clear picture of why a given person or entity has been listed by the Committee, and also in order to assess the current justification for the listing. It goes without saying that the Ombudsperson cannot function effectively without the full cooperation of member States. We therefore call on all UN Member States, not only the members of the Security Council, to respond promptly and adequately to the Ombudsperson’s requests for information and assistance. It is of paramount importance that the Ombudsperson has access to all relevant information, including confidential and classified documents, regarding the listing.
We have taken due note of the Ombudsperson’s initial priorities of safeguarding the independence of her office and of raising general awareness of the role of the Ombudsperson. All Governments should assist the Ombudsperson in making the mandate widely known by, for example, bringing the existence of the Ombudsperson’s website to the attention of relevant NGOs and the national bar associations. States should also be encouraged to include information in their periodic reports to the 1267 Committee on what steps they have taken to generate publicity about the mandate of the Ombudsperson.
Furthermore, all States should receive the necessary general information about the work of the Ombudsperson. Such information will contribute to a deeper appreciation of the role and needs of the Ombudsperson and of any possible challenges in the exercise of her mandate. More knowledge on the part of member States in this area could in turn strengthen the cooperation with the Ombudsperson. We therefore look forward to the biannual reports of the Ombudsperson, pursuant to paragraph 15 (c) of the mandate, contained in Annex II of resolution 1904 (2009). The informal group of like-minded States would also encourage the Ombudsperson to consider giving regular interactive briefings on her role and activities, as has become the practice for other key UN entities in the field of counter-terrorism such as the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate.
The Ombudsperson cannot and is not intended to function in a vacuum. She will need to engage with States and petitioners when performing the key functions of her mandate. This activity may require resources for travelling. Furthermore, the Ombudsperson might benefit in her work from participating in relevant seminars or obtaining country specific information. We therefore call on the Council to provide the necessary resources and thereby consolidate the independence of the mandate of the Ombudsperson.
One of the major improvements that came with resolution 1904 (2009) is that the Committee will meet to discuss the report that the Ombudsperson submits to the Committee after considering a request for delisting. We assume that in such cases, where the Ombudsperson has been involved and has thus given the request for delisting a thorough assessment, there will be less need for putting requests on hold. The current practice of placing delisting requests on hold is sometimes justified by a need for additional information before a final decision can be made. This justification might be less compelling in a situation where the Ombudsperson has provided the Committee with all relevant information.
The informal group welcomes all the progress made so far and we will continue to follow closely the functioning of the mandate of Ombudsperson. In this regard we support any measures that are suitable to maximising the effectiveness of that mandate.
At the same time, we will continue to consider further steps towards strengthening the due process rights of those listed. In our view we should continue the reflection on how the current system could be enhanced, also in terms of guaranteeing its effectiveness and credibility, without calling into question the very important progress that has been achieved so far.
I would like to once again encourage the Council to continue its open and inclusive dialogue with interested States on issues pertaining to sanctions. I would in this regard reassure you that the informal group of like-minded States stands ready to engage in such a dialogue and offer our views and perspective on the way forward on these important issues.