Expected Council Action
In October, the Council is scheduled to receive its annual briefing from the chairs of its counter-terrorism-related committees, Ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorenty Solíz (Bolivia), chair of the 1540 Committee, which focuses on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; Ambassador Kairat Umarov (Kazakhstan), chair of the 1267/1989/2253 Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee; and Ambassador Gustavo Meza-Cuadra Velásquez (Peru), chair of the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC). Solíz will also address the joint activities of all three committees.
Key Recent Developments
The joint briefing was initially scheduled to take place in May, a year after the previous joint briefing of 11 May 2017, but was postponed at the request of Bolivia, as Solíz also briefed the Council separately on 12 April on the work of his committee.
1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee
The Council has adopted two important resolutions concerning ISIL and Al-Qaida over the last year. The Council unanimously adopted resolution 2368 on 20 July 2017, renewing and updating the 1267/1989/2253 sanctions regime. The updates are intended to reflect the current and evolving threat presented by Al-Qaida and ISIL. The resolution also provides updates concerning the Office of the Ombudsperson to the ISIL (Da'esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, including communications among the Ombudsperson, the sanctions committee and petitioners. In accordance with the resolution, the committee adopted revised guidelines on 5 September to facilitate the conduct of its own work and provide useful guidance to member states in their efforts to implement the relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolution 2368.
The Council adopted resolution 2396 on foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) and returnees on 21 December 2017. The resolution acknowledged that returning and relocating FTFs who participated in attacks in their countries of origin or third countries, including assaults on public spaces and civilian targets, present an immediate threat to member states. In aiming to address this threat, it called on states to assess and investigate suspected individuals whom they have reasonable grounds to believe are terrorists, including suspected FTFs and their accompanying spouses, children and other family members.
After the position of the Ombudsperson had been vacant since 7 August 2017, Daniel Kipfer Fasciati (Switzerland) was appointed on 24 May.
The 1267/1989/2253 sanctions list, which was last updated on 29 August, currently contains the names of 263 individuals and 82 entities.
1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee
On 21 December 2017, the Council adopted resolution 2395, renewing the mandate of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) as a special political mission until 31 December 2021. The resolution addressed CTED’s functions within the wider UN system, including the relationship between CTED and the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT). It provided a comprehensive text regarding CTED’s full mandate, which now encompasses cross-cutting issues such as FTFs and countering violent extremism. It stressed that assessing the implementation of resolution 1373 and other relevant counter-terrorism resolutions is the core function of CTED.
On 9 April, Council members held an Arria-formula meeting on Peru’s initiative, titled “Enhancing synergies between the United Nations and regional and subregional organisations to address the nexus between terrorism and transnational organised crime”. Among the briefers were CTED Executive Director Michèle Coninsx; the executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Under-Secretary-General Yury Fedotov; and Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov, the head of UNOCT.
On 23 August, Voronkov briefed the Council on the seventh report of the Secretary-General on the threat posed by ISIL. Also briefing were Coninsx and Joana Cook, senior research fellow with the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence at King’s College London.
On 12 April, Solíz briefed the Council on the committee’s activities and its priorities for the upcoming period as laid out in the programme of work covering the period from 1 February 2018 to 31 January 2019. The programme included plans by the committee to hold deliberations on enforcing applicable laws on prohibiting non-state actors from acquiring chemical and biological weapons, in accordance with paragraph 2 of resolution 1540. Solíz emphasised that achieving universal reporting on the implementation of resolution 1540 remains one of the committee’s main priorities. He said that 180 out of 193 member states have submitted their national reports. During the April meeting, several Council members expressed concern over the increasing use of chemical weapons in the recent period.
A key issue for the committees is to ensure that they are able to address the widening scope of the threats and various facets of the Council’s counter-terrorism agenda within their respective mandates.
A particular issue for the 1267/1989/2253 Committee is to continue to strengthen member states’ compliance with the sanctions regime.
A key issue for the 1540 Committee is the follow-up on national implementation and reporting to the committee.
In the past, most counter-terrorism-related discussions were held in the Council’s subsidiary organs, but over the last two years the Council has discussed and adopted decisions on various aspects of counter-terrorism and related issues, including updating the Al-Qaida and ISIL sanctions regime and the mandate of CTED and addressing FTFs, returnees and others.
The importance of counter-terrorism efforts enjoys overall unanimity among Council members, notwithstanding divergences over the politicisation of the issue in the Middle East. However, frictions on some issues remain, such as divergences between Russia and other member states that led to delays in the appointment of the ISIL (Da'esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee Ombudsperson.
That some differences remain among Council members in their approach towards counter-terrorism was also evident during the negotiations over resolutions 2395 and 2396. For example, several states, mainly the western ones, took the view with respect to FTFs and returnees that states need to distinguish between FTFs and their families in their screening process rather than automatically assume that the families are complicit. Furthermore, they wanted the resolution to call on states to develop comprehensive prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration strategies to determine the most appropriate solution for FTFs and their families. However, Russia took the view that FTFs should be held criminally liable and that family members travelling with FTFs are complicit and should, therefore, be held accountable.
UN DOCUMENTS ON COUNTER-TERRORISM
|Security Council Resolutions|
|21 December 2017 S/RES/2396||This was a resolution addressing the threat of foreign terrorist fighters.|
|21 December 2017 S/RES/2395||This resolution renewed the mandate of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) until 31 December 2021.|
|20 July 2017 S/RES/2368||This was a resolution renewing and updating the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) & Al-Qaida Sanctions regime. Through an annex to the resolution, eight individuals or organisations were added to the sanctions list.|
|16 August 2018 S/2018/770||This was the Secretary-General’s biannual report on the threat posed by ISIL (Da’esh) to international peace and security.|
|Security Council Letters|
|24 May 2018 S/2018/514||This was a letter concerning the appointment of Daniel Kipfer Fasciati as Ombudsperson of the 1267/1989/2253 Al-Qaida/ISIL Sanctions Committee.|
|12 April 2018 S/2018/340||This was the 17th programme of work of the 1540 Committee.|
|Security Council Meeting Record|
|23 August 2018 S/PV.8330||This was a briefing by Under-Secretary-General in the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism Vladimir Voronkov on the seventh report of the Secretary-General on the threat posed by ISIL (Da’esh).|