Friday, August 17, 2007

The Insecurity Council

According to Le Monde, Dick Marty, the investigator for the Council of Europe who issued a report on the CIA's European black hole prisons this past June, is set to issue another one this autumn which is sure to grab some attention. This time he's shining the spotlight on the UN Security Council's anti-terrorism "blacklist", specifically:

...the "Kafka-esque" practices and "flagrant injustice" of a committee of the UN Security Council which manages a list of 362 people and 125 organizations, sanctioned for their alleged connections with al-Qaeda or the Taliban...

For someone to be added to the list, all it takes is just one of the fifteen members of the Council to request it and provide a summary of the acts in question, often based on classified intelligence. If none of the other members objects in the next five days, the name is added and published on the UN website.

The activities subject to sanction, such as "facilitating" activities related to al-Qaeda or "the support, in any other way" of the jihadist movement, remain vague. And when people are sanctioned, it's often based "on vague, even very vague, suspicions", according to Mr. Marty, without being informed of them, nor having access to incriminating evidence. (Translated from the French.)

Sanctions handed down by the committee have included everything from freezing of assets to house arrest, so the fact that there's really no judicial process involved is pretty significant. Changes have already been made in the list's administration, allowing those sanctioned to request their removal from it. But their request still needs unanimous consent from the Council (ie. the agreement of whichever country put them on it in the first place) to be approved. More recently, revisions proposed in 2006 included:

...the adoption of more precise definitions, re-examination every six months so that the sanctions remain temporary and preventative, as well as the introduction of judicial oversight and a right to appeal.

Something tells me the publicity surrounding Mr. Marty's report might turn the heat up enough to get them pushed through.

Posted by Judah in:  Global War On Terror   Human Rights   

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