UN asset-freezing scheme represents an ‘atrocious lack’ of due process
By Cian Murphy
Without any recourse to challenge the evidence, the future remains bleak for people and entities listed under the UN’s draconian anti-terrorism regime, writes Cian Murphy
The list of individuals subject to asset-freezing sanctions under international law (UN security council resolution 1267 and its successors) and EU law (Regulation 881/2002) has received much attention on the Human Rights in Ireland blog.
Despite a stream of cases before the European and UK courts, the regime continues to operate, requiring all states to freeze the assets of individuals listed by the security council, based on intelligence from national law enforcement authorities.
The individuals are not given a chance to face their accusers or to challenge the evidence against them. They are given no indication of what is required of them to be removed from the list and have little hope of success without a national government’s support.
A recent security council subcommittee review of the list shows that little is likely to change in the near future.
UN security council resolution 1822 required the 1267 committee (a subcommittee of the UN security council whose membership matches that of the council) to review the list and make recommendations.
Earlier this month, the UN announced that after the review of more than 500 listed individuals and entities, 45 individuals were being removed. While a welcome announcement for the 45 individuals concerned (although eight of those have since died), it represents slow justice and will undoubtedly dismay the 90% of those whose listing has been upheld.
The report demonstrates the atrocious lack of due process under the UN regime. A UN News Centre release details: “One of the things the committee learned during the review is that more than half of the 488 entries had been on the list since 2001 and had never been reviewed. So this marked the first time that 270 names were reviewed.”
Thus, almost 300 individuals have had their assets frozen under international law for nine years with no due process. Of those that remain on the list, 30 are deceased. Their removal is particularly difficult: “It’s not easy to get dead people off the list,” the 1967 committee chairman pointed out. “We need to have convincing proof that they are really dead and we also need information on what happened to their assets. This in many cases takes some time, but this is work that will have to continue.”
Although the committee will be conducting more systematic reviews in future, in particular regards deceased persons, the future remains bleak for listed individuals. Aoife O’Donoghue has previously noted that the UN has promised to uphold procedural rights for those seeking removal from the list.
This misguided and draconian regime is seen as a key weapon in the international “war on terror”. It is unlikely to be decommissioned anytime soon.