UN terrorism sanctions committee head criticises effectiveness, veto

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United Nations, Dec 20 (IANS) The chairman of the committees that impose sanctions on the Al Qaeda and the Taliban and their affiliates has criticised the veto powers used by the panel members to stop action against terrorists saying that it makes an important anti-terrorism tool useless.

“One thing that has struck me is how little consideration or priority the (Security) Council gives to ensuring its sanctions committees are effective,” New Zealand’s Permanent Representative Gerard van Bohemen told the Council in an unusually frank criticism of its working on Monday.

The virtual veto given to all Security Council members who form the committees “is the single biggest inhibitor to Committee effectiveness,” he said.

“Sanctions are one of the few tools we have, short of force, to respond to situations that threaten international peace and security,” van Bohemen said. “Yet the way these committees are established and the procedures under which they operate mean they struggle to discharge their mandates.”

Van Bohemen completes his term as the chair of the two sanctions committees this month when New Zealand ends its two-year stint as a non-permanent member of the Security Council.

By requiring a consensus “we have conferred the right of veto on all Council members and that right extends to all decisions, procedural and substantive” even though it has no basis in the Charter, he said.

In reality, though, he pointed out acethat it is almost invariably a Permanent Member that uses the ‘No Objection Procedure’ to block a decision.”

China has used its veto protect Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood Azhar, who was behind the attack on the air force base in Pathankot, from being included in a list of terrorists who face UN action.

China also provided cover for Pakistan, which released on bail Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the LeT commander who masterminded the 2008 attack on Mumbai which killed more than 160 people. He was already on the UN list of those facing sanctions as terrorists.

An example of the failure of the committee on sanctions against the Taliban that he cited was its inability to update the details of a dead former Taliban leader on the sanctions list “so that we can stop his considerable assets ending up in the hands of the Taliban.”

(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected])

–IANS

abl/vm

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