Statement to the Security Council by HE Mrs Bénédicte Frankinet on behalf of the group of like-minded States on targeted sanctions

date: 28 May 2014

Ce mercredi 28 mai 2014, les Présidents des comités de sanction créés par les résolutions 1540, 1267 et 1373 ont effectué leur rapport semestriel au Conseil de sécurité.  La Belgique, par la voix de l’Ambassadeur Bénédicte Frankinet, Représentante permanente, a pris la parole au nom d’un groupe informel de onze Etats partageant les mêmes idées sur les sanctions ciblées (« group of like minded states on targeted sanctions », comprenant l’Allemagne, l’Autriche, le Costa Rica, le Danemark, la Finlande, le Liechtenstein, la Norvège, les Pays Bas, la Suède, la Suisse et la Belgique).  Au nom de ce groupe, la Belgique a reconnu les avancées en terme de garanties de procès équitable que représente la création et le renforcement récent de la fonction de médiateur, dans le cadre du Comité de sanction « Al Qaeda » (1267).

Les récentes décisions de juridictions nationales ou régionales ont toutefois démontré que le système de sanctions ciblées actuel est encore imparfait.  Une des conséquences de ces décisions judiciaire est de rendre malaisée la mise en application nationale des sanctions décidées par Conseil de sécurité.  Dès lors, pour assurer tant un meilleur respect des droits au procès équitable qu’une application plus efficace de ces sanctions ciblées, le Groupe d’Etats « like-minded » préconise un renforcement supplémentaire de la fonction de médiateur, dans le Cadre du Comité de sanctions Al Qaeda, et une extension aux autres Comités de sanction de la procédure développée dans le cadre du Comité de sanction Al Qaeda.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Statement

Thank you, Mr. President,

I’m pleased to take the floor on behalf of the group of like-minded States on targeted sanctions: This group comprises Austria, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Belgium.

First of all, we thank the committees’ chairs for their informative briefings. We commend the Security Council for organizing this biannual meeting, and for creating the opportunity to discuss on UN sanctions regimes.

The need to further develop fair and clear procedures in UN sanctions regimes is widely recognized. As in previous years, the group of like-minded States aims to support efforts by the Security Council to enhance the fairness and transparency of its various sanctions regimes, thereby contributing to their credibility and effectiveness.  Much has been done with regard to the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999) concerning Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities. In particular, the creation and strengthening of the Ombudsperson process were vital steps toward an independent and effective sanctions review mechanism.

However, considerable due process concerns persist and legal challenges have been filed in jurisdictions around the world.  The ruling of the Court of Justice of the EU in the Kadi case in July last year, concerning the Al Qaeda sanction regime, is one of several judicial decisions confirming that in the implementation of UN measures, actions of Member States are subject to full judicial review as to their conformity with fundamental norms such as the right to be heard, the right to have access to the file – subject to legitimate interests in maintaining confidentiality – and the right to ascertain the reasons of a decision and the right to an effective remedy.  The right to have cases decided upon within reasonable time should also be respected. Therefore, as long as national and regional Courts consider UN sanctions to fall short of the minimum standards of due process, national authorities may find themselves unable to fully implement them at the national level. 

In order to further strengthen the effectiveness of the UN sanctions regimes and in line with the continuous need to ensure due process, the Group of Like-Minded States on targeted sanctions invites the Security Council and Member States to consider the following proposals and ideas, which have been submitted in writing on April 17th 2014 (S/2014/286).

Firstly, the Office of the Ombudsperson should be made permanent. This will give more weight and credibility to the Ombudsperson’s work.

Secondly, information sharing between Member States and the Ombudsperson as well as between the Sanctions Committee and Member States and national / regional Courts and other authorities should be improved.

Thirdly, transparency should be enhanced.  All decisions regardless of whether they maintain a listing or delist an individual or entity should contain adequate and substantial reasons.  Moreover, those reasons as well as a redacted version of the comprehensive report of the Ombudsperson should be published, allowing for legitimate privacy, security and confidentiality interests to be adequately protected.

And fourthly, the Committees must continue to conduct the triennial review in a timely and thorough manner and regularly inform Member States about the results of all reviews provided for by Resolution 2083.  In the course of the review, the Committee should actively confirm each listing in order to maintain it on the list.  In so doing, the Committee should give reasons why a listing remains appropriate.  In case a listing is not reviewed and confirmed within the required three years' period, it should automatically be deleted.

Mr. President,

Besides these four proposals for the immediate future, the Group of like-minded States would also like to submit a few ideas for the longer term, aimed at ensuring the effectiveness of all Council’s sanctions regimes, while improving their fairness and thus bringing them in line with the human rights jurisprudence:

First, we recommend to provide the Ombudsperson with the authority to decide, when a delisting request is made, whether to maintain a listing or to delist an individual or entity.  At the same time, Member States and relevant international organizations and bodies should encourage individuals or entities that consider challenging their listing through national and regional courts to first seek removal from the Al-Qaida Sanctions List by submitting delisting petitions to the Office of the Ombudsperson.

Secondly, we propose to begin a reflection on improving due process in other sanctions regimes as well, given that one of them is already subject to a review by the European Court of Human Rights.  It should be considered to extend gradually the important procedural safeguards of the Ombudsperson process to other appropriate sanctions regimes.  In so doing, the need for possible adaptations to the Ombudspersons mandate should be explored.  Besides that, other due process safeguards should be introduced in other sanctions regimes, such as informing in a timely manner the listed individual or entity of the designation and communicating a narrative summary of reasons for listing. Lastly, the “holds-procedure” time limits adopted by the 1267/1989-Committee could be extended to other sanctions regimes.

The Group of Like-minded States would be happy to further discuss these proposals with the members of the Security Council and all members of the General Assembly.

Thank you, Mr. President.