UN anti-terror expert slams Taliban, al-Qaeda resolutions

UN anti-terror expert slams Taliban, al-Qaeda resolutions

Prof Martin Scheinin, the outgoing UN Special Rapporteur on counter-terrorism, said the two resolutions on June 17 that separated persons and entities belonging to Taliban from the al-Qaeda against the backdrop of ongoing consultations between the NATO forces and Taliban were "politically" motivated without proper legal and human rights considerations.

He told reporters that the new Taliban sanctions regime under Security Council Resolution 1989 is "a retrogressive step in relation to the human rights concerns" as "the grounds for delisting [Taliban] are openly political."

It is inconsistent and untenable because it took away the powers of independent review from the ombudsperson, Scheinin said.

After the killing of Osama bin Laden in May by the US special forces in a covert operation in Pakistan, the US administration started what security analysts call back-channel consultations with Taliban, which sparked off a wave of killings, including the siege of Kabul's Intercontinental by a squad of suicide bombers.

In comparison to the resolution on Taliban, the Security Council's resolution 1988 on al-Qaeda was commendable as it did away with the consensus requirement from delisting decisions.

"However, this important improvement (in the al-Qaeda resolution) is compromised by the possibility of any member of the Security Council to refer a delisting recommendation by the Ombudsperson or by the designating State to the full Security Council, where its normal decision-making rules will apply," Scheinin said.

Scheinin argued that delisting will require the votes of nine out of the 15 members of the Security Council and can be blocked by the veto of any of the five permanent members.

Significantly, the new al-Qaeda sanctions regime under Resolution 1988 does not remedy the human rights shortcomings expressed in the relation to the earlier consolidated list.

Notwithstanding the reforms, the procedures for terrorist listing and delisting by the 1267 Committee of the Security Council do not meet international human rights standards concerning due process or fair trail, he told reporters.

Scheinin said "as long as proper due process is not guaranteed at the United Nations level when listing individuals or entities as terrorists, national courts will need to exercise judicial review over the national measures implementing the sanctions."

The outgoing UN Special Rapporteur on counter-terrorism, said there is lack of transparency as well as legal information in sharing intelligence on Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorists among the members of the Security Council.

Prof Scheinin, who was made the UN expert on counter-terrorism in 2005, underscored the need for submitting information by the governments for listing any proposal.

He said "the person or entity subjected to the listing proposal has the right and practical means to effectively challenge the proposal" and the delisting ombudsman has access to the full set of information used for listing.

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