UN Approves Reforms for Listing and Delisting on Terrorist List

Printer-friendlyPrinter-friendly EmailEmail
Date: 
February 1, 2010

The lack of due process in the United Nations' (UN) terrorist watch list has made some governments reluctant to enforce sanctions against those listed.  Responding to these criticisms, and at the urging of human rights advocates, on Dec. 17, 2009 the UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1904, which sets out an improved process and creates greater transparency.  These improvements, supported by the U.S. in the Security Council vote, do not yet apply to the U.S. listing process.

Resolution 1904 improves upon Resolution 1267, which created the “Consolidation List” of those suspected of being involved with Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, or the Taliban. Sanctions imposed on those listed include asset freezes and travel restrictions. The listing process has been criticized for violating human rights, including the right to adequate notice and opportunity to defend. In 2008 the European Court of Justice ruled the process violated is human rights standards in Kadi & Al Barakaat v. Council of the European Union and EC Commission.  

Resolution 1904 seeks to cure these problems by making changes in the listing and delisting process, and by requiring periodic review of the list to remove deceased persons and others who should no longer be on it. It also provides for expedited consideration of humanitarian exemptions. 
 
Changes to the listing process include:

  • Ensuring that member states provided the Sanctions Committee with “as much relevant information as possible” to ensure accurate listing.
  • A requirement that the UN's Sanctions Committee post a narrative summary of reasons for listing on its website.

Changes to the delisting process are the most significant part of the Resolution, including:

  • Periodic review of list, which would:
    • Complete a review of all names on the list by the Sanctions Committee by June 30, 2010, and conduct annual review of names that have not been reviewed in over 3 years after that point.
    • Extend the New York Monitoring team, established in 2004, for 18 additional months.
       
  • Create an Office of Ombudsperson for an initial 18 months to assist Sanctions Committee in de-listing individuals. The Ombudsperson will be selected by the Security-General and be “an eminent individual of high moral character, impartiality and integrity with high qualifications and experience in relevant fields, such as legal, human rights, counter-terrorism, and sanctions.” Detailed procedures for delisting requests are included in Annex II of Resolution 1904