Statement delivered by Ambassador Olof Skoog of Sweden on behalf of the Group of Like-Minded States on Targeted Sanctions at the UN Security Council open debate on working methods of the Security Council, 6 June 2019
6 June 2019
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
I want to thank the Kuwaiti presidency for convening this open debate. I also thank the briefers for the interesting points they made in their interventions.
I will address the Council today on behalf of the Group of Like-Minded States on Targeted Sanctions, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, and my own country Sweden.
I will focus on one of the issues raised in the concept note for this debate, namely regarding how transparency and efficiency can be improved in the work of the Council’s subsidiary bodies, including the strengthening of due process.
December 2019 will mark the 10-year anniversary of the creation of the Office of the Ombudsperson to the ISIL/Daesh and al Qaida Sanctions Committee which was established precisely for the particular purpose of strengthening due process and fair and clear procedures in the sanctions regime.
We have seen the work of the Ombudsperson develop and deepen. It has had a real impact on individuals’ right to due process in the sanctions listing and de-listing process. This achievement of the Ombudsperson has also been recognized by different regional and national courts.
When the function and Office of the Ombudsperson was established, it was underscored that it should be able to carry out its mandate in an independent and impartial manner. The members of the Group of Like-Minded States on targeted sanctions are today especially concerned that this independence is being undermined by the current contractual status and other institutional arrangements for the Office of the Ombudsperson in the Secretariat.
We request the Secretary-General to ensure that the capacity of the Office of the Ombudsperson is strengthened and that necessary arrangements are made “to ensure its continued ability to carry out its mandate in an independent, effective and timely manner”, in line with what is stated in resolution 2368 (2017).
This is a matter not only of working methods, but of ensuring that individuals placed on UN sanctions lists enjoy fair and clear procedures and are afforded due process. The fairness of such processes is a determinant for the effectiveness of the Security Council sanctions system, which could otherwise be challenged by national or regional courts.
In this regard, we wish to recall our letter to the Security Council dated 7th December 2018 (S/2018/1094) that also includes other proposals for improving due process with regard to the Office of the Ombudsperson.
We all have an interest in efficient sanctions that are legitimate as well as perceived to be legitimate. Therefore, the Group of Like-Minded States on Targeted Sanctions urges the Security Council and the Secretary-General to continue their efforts to ensure that due process is afforded and human rights are respected, both in the process of imposing the sanctions, and in subsequent implementation measures.
Indeed, similar due process concerns than those faced in the ISIL/Daesh and al Qaida sanctions regime exist in relation to other Security Council sanctions regimes. Courts and tribunals are increasingly faced with questions emanating from other sanctions regimes and have underlined the lack of due process protection they provide. This is the reason why we also ask the Council to address the issue by creating for other sanctions regimes an Ombudsperson or a mechanism that provides equivalent protection.