In July this year, India told a meeting of the UN Security Council that it was “very regrettable” that genuine and evidence-based proposals to blacklist some of the terrorists the world’s most notorious are suspended, claiming that such “double standards” are driving the credibility of the Council’s sanctions regime to an “historic low”. The reference was to India’s past attempts to designate terrorists under the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the United Nations Security Council’s Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee and China allegedly obstructed the process. with procedural delays.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has imposed sanctions under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the UN Charter which states that “the UNSC may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force must be used to give effect to its decisions, and it may call on members of the United Nations to carry out such measures. Over the past 56 years, 30 sanctions regimes, 14 of which are ongoing, focused on supporting political conflict resolution, nuclear non-proliferation and counter-terrorism (CT), have been established. Because of the stakes, the fact is that some sanctions regimes are more important for a particular Member State than others.
Sanctions discussions around Iran’s nuclear proliferation are being proactively followed and influenced by the US and EU. Along the same lines, in the counter-terrorism landscape, the work of the UNSC Committee regarding al-Qaida, ISIL and the Taliban is being followed avidly by various member states directly affected. As in the rest of the multilateral arena, a disconnect can exist between diplomatic assertions and expectations, aimed at domestic and international audiences, and the exact workings within the multilateral arena which rely on multiple vectors .
Listing as associates of al-Qaeda, ISIL and the Taliban originated in the pre-9/11 era. The process was triggered by UNSC resolution 1267 (1999), which imposed a limited air embargo and asset freeze on the Taliban. Over time, the regime has evolved and further strengthened with “measures such as a targeted asset freeze, a travel ban and an arms embargo against designated individuals and entities “. A number of UNSC resolutions followed 9/11, including formative and critical UNSC Resolution 1373 (2001) of 28 September 2001, which triggered a series of concrete institutional actions within the multilateral arena in the area of the CT. With regard to the work and mandate of the 1267 Committee, there have been calibrated changes in subsequent resolutions for the renewal of its mandate in accordance with developments related to the TC and the concerns of various stakeholders.
An ombudsman’s office was created to alleviate the various concerns expressed about the listing and delisting process. In 2011, in response to the United States’ engagement with the Taliban under UNSC Resolutions 1988 and 1989, the work of the original committee, formed under UNSC Resolution 1267, was split with the separation of the mandate to oversee the implementation of the measures against individuals and entities associated with Al-Qaeda. In 2015, alongside another UNSCR 2253, ISIL (Daesh) was also added as part of the committee’s mandate linked to Al-Qaeda. Under both mandates, there is also an “Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team” which comprises ten experts and which produces periodic reports providing information and trends on the various TC-related trends within the framework of the two terms.
Over the years, India has spent a lot of diplomatic capital to enlist individuals as terrorists under the UNSC 1267 Sanctions Committee, with a particular focus on India-centric terrorist groups such as Lashkar-e- Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad. India’s record in this regard is mixed. One example is the ten years it took to list Bahawalpur-born Masood Azhar on the UNSC 1267 Sanctions Committee list. Some of the evidence against Azhar was already in the public domain. After his infamous release from Kot Bhalwal (J&K) prison in 1999 as part of the Kandahar swap deal with the IC-814 hijackers, he returned to Pakistan to create the Jaish-e-Mohammad. Jaish is believed to have been responsible for numerous terrorist attacks in its nearly 20 years of existence, including the attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001.
During the period that Azhar’s case was under consideration, according to accounts from informed Pakistani scholars, Jaish continued to fundraise and recruit in the southern part of Pakistan’s Punjab province; the Pathankot Air Base attack took place in 2016; on February 14, 2019, Kashmiri recruit from Jaish, Adil Ahmad Dar rammed his vehicle, armed with explosives, with a CRPF vehicle, killing 40 soldiers. Dar claimed her allegiance to Jaish in a video that was shot before the suicide bombing. China, one of the P-5 members, had delayed Azhar’s listing all this time citing a myriad of procedural issues. Azhar was finally listed in May 2019. There was swift action when Pakistani Lashkar leader Hafiz Sayed, based in Punjab, was listed days after the November 2008 Mumbai attack. Universal mass outrage at the attack was such that no member state resisted. or delayed registration.
Evidence of an application for registration of an individual or individuals is often generated by a Member State’s intelligence resources or capabilities. Presenting demonstrative and compelling evidence for registration in a way that does not blunt or compromise future intelligence-gathering capacity is a challenge. Second, the whole listing and delisting process has evolved alongside concerns expressed by some that such processes should not be conducted with great power political expediency and should conform to the framework of international law. international human rights and humanitarian law. A number of reports from the multilateral arena have underscored this.
There is no doubt that the partisan geopolitical considerations of UNSC members, particularly the P-5, have a direct impact on the processes of listing or delisting terrorists within the UNSC. From 2010 to 2020, the calibrated speed at which the Taliban-associated delisting exercise was conducted directly correlates to the US-Taliban dialogue of the past decade. At the same time, a multidimensional and proactive approach, given the history and operation of these more than two decades old mandates, can add weight to a Member State’s request to be included in the consolidated list. UNSC sanctions.