20 December 2005
Security Council Hears Reports by Chairs of Eight Subsidiary Bodies
Topics Include Conflict in Africa, Terrorism, Weapons Proliferation, Somalia, Iraq, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Rwanda
NEW YORK, 19 December (UN Headquarters) -- As it neared the anticipated completion this week of its work for 2005, the Security Council this afternoon heard briefings by the Chairmen of eight of its subsidiary bodies, including on the situations in a number of African countries, conflict prevention and resolution on that continent, frozen Iraqi assets, the non-proliferation of mass destruction weapons, and counter-terrorism efforts.
Specifically, the Council was briefed by the Chairmen of the following bodies: the "751 Committee" concerning Somalia; the "1518 Committee" on Iraq; the "1533 Committee" on the Democratic Republic of the Congo; the "1540 Committee" concerning the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; the "1132 Committee" concerning Sierra Leone; and the "918 Committee" on Rwanda. It also heard from the Chairmen of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict prevention and Resolution in Africa, and the Working Group established pursuant to resolution 1566 (2004) concerning terrorism, other than Al-Qaida/Taliban.
Reflecting on the challenges facing many such bodies, Algeria's representative, in his capacity for the past two years as Chairman of the "1533 Committee" on the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the "918 Committee" on Rwanda, said he had become aware of the challenges the respective Committees faced and the limitations on the effectiveness of sanctions relative to the level of political will brought to bear on an issue, both by those States imposing the measures, as members of the Council, and those implementing them.
As important as the sanctions tool was to the Council's maintenance of peace and security, the capacity of States to implement sanctions varied widely, he said. The level of cooperation with the Committee and its monitoring arm, the Group of Experts, also varied widely from one State to another. The Experts Group faced serious challenges in carrying out its mandate, including lack of access to certain sites, and to information, and general inadequate levels of cooperation. Wherever and whenever the Committee was able to assist in that regard, it did so.
Appointed as Chairman of the "1132 Committee" on Sierra Leone for 2004-2005, Brazil's speaker recalled that only the arms ban and travel restrictions remained in force there. In his recent report on the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), the Secretary-General indicated that, in its six years of operation, the Mission had placed Sierra Leone "on a firm path to post-conflict recovery". Despite the still fragile socio-economic situation, the prevailing stable environment should encourage increased international involvement. As the Mission completed its drawdown, the Council might start reviewing the sanctions regime, with a view to updating its legal basis, streamlining and updating the measures currently in place, along with the Committee's mandate, he suggested.
Noting that "751 Committee" on Somalia was the oldest subsidiary body active in the Council today, its Chairman, the representative of the Philippines, said that, while the situation in Somalia had been on the agenda since 1992, Council attention to and treatment of the arms embargo had only picked up 10 years later. Having guided the Committee for two years, he suggested that more reflection and action were needed to ensure that that component of the Council's strategy for achieving stability and security in Somalia was attuned to the present state of events. Lifting of the sanctions, however, should be based on political judgement rather than on technical requirements for taking such action. Then, too, the lack of capacity to enforce the embargo remained a critical issue.
Statements were also made by the representatives of the following Governments, in their capacity as Chairmen: Romania ("1518 Committee" and "1540 Committee"; and Benin (Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa); and the Philippines (the "1566 Working Group" on terrorism).
The meeting began at 3:27 p.m. and was adjourned at 4:50 p.m.
The Security Council met this afternoon to hear briefings by the Chairmen of subsidiary bodies of the Council. On its agenda were the Chairmen of the following: the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) concerning Somalia; Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1518 (2003) concerning Iraq; Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004) concerning the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa; the Security Council Working Group established pursuant to resolution 1566 (2004) concerning terrorism, other than Al-Qaida/Taliban; the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1132 (1997), concerning Sierra Leone; and the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 918 (1994) concerning Rwanda.
Before the Council was a letter dated 14 December 2005 from the Chairman of the Working Group established pursuant to resolution 1566 (2004) addressed to the Security Council President (document S/2005/789), as well as a letter dated 16 December 2005 from the Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004) to the Council President (document S/2005/799).
Summary of Briefings
'1533 Committee' - Democratic Republic of Congo
ABDALLAH BAALI (Algeria), Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 918 (1994), on the first, recalled that, on 28 July 2003, the Council, through the adoption of resolution 1493, had expressed deep concern at the continuation of the hostilities in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly in North and South Kivu and in Ituri, and at the grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. The resolution had imposed an arms embargo on all foreign and Congolese armed groups and militias operating in the territory of the North and South Kivu and Ituri, and to groups not party to the global and all-inclusive agreement in the country. The text also provided for the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) to monitor the situation with regard to arms supply and the position and movement of armed groups.
He also recalled that adoption of resolution 1596 on 18 April 2005 had extended the arms embargo to any recipient in the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with certain exemptions, including the army and police of the Democratic Republic, under conditions set out in the resolution. That text also had imposed travel restrictions and an assets freeze on persons and entities acting in violation of the arms embargo. The most recent resolution, 1616, adopted on 15 August 2005, had renewed the ban and travel restrictions and the assets freeze until 31 July 2006.
Since its establishment, the Committee had been quite active, he said. For instance, it had issued three notes verbales in May 2004, May 2005, and October 2005, calling the attention of Member States to their obligations under the resolutions, including the provision of information on steps they had taken to implement the sanctions measures. Thirty-five responses were received in 2004, and 16 responses in 2005. In accordance with the resolution, there had been seven instances of States notifying the Committee with regard to exemptions to the arms embargo, namely, the export of non-lethal military equipment to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (from Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom). Cognizant of the important role played by States in the region, the Committee this year held two rounds of discussions with Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and South Africa.
In addition, he noted, the Committee designated a list of persons and entities subjected to the travel restrictions and assets freeze. That list was currently being updated with additional information received from the Permanent Mission of Germany. Since the first Group of Experts was established under resolution 1533, three subsequent Groups had dispatched their mandates and submitted their reports to the Council, through the Committee, which had held extensive discussions in that regard. The final report of the current Experts Group was expected shortly. Those reports contained details of the Group's monitoring and investigations regarding the weapons ban, and their observations and recommendations for improving its effectiveness. The reports also contained details experienced by the Group in dispatching its various mandates.
Turning to challenges, he said that, in the past two years of his chairmanship, he had become "acutely" aware of the importance to the Council of the sanctions tool in the maintenance of peace and security. He had also become aware of the challenges faced by the Committees and the limitations on the effectiveness of sanctions relative to the level of political will brought to bear on an issue, both by those States imposing the measures, as members of the Council, and those implementing the measures, as all States were obliged to do. The capacity of States to implement sanctions varied widely. The level of cooperation with the Committee and its monitoring arm, the Group of Experts, also varied widely from one State to another. The Experts Group faced serious challenges in carrying out its mandate, including lack of access to certain sites, and to information, and general inadequate levels of cooperation. Wherever and whenever the Committee was able to assist in that regard, it did so.
'918 Committee' - Rwanda
As Chairman also of the "918 Committee" concerning Rwanda, Mr. BAALI said that, as members were aware, the restrictions imposed by paragraph 13 of the resolution on the sale or supply of arms and related materiel to the Rwandese Government had been terminated on 1 September 1996, in accordance with paragraph 8 of resolution 1011 (1995). All States, however, were required to continue to implement the foregoing measures, with a view to preventing the sale or supply of arms and related materiel to non-governmental forces for use in Rwanda. Furthermore, in accordance with paragraph 11 of that resolution, States were also required to notify all exports from their territories of arms or related materiel from Rwanda to the Committee.
He said that, from 2004 to 2005, the Committee had received no information on violations of the sanctions measures. That did not necessarily mean that there had been no violations. In the absence of a specific monitoring mechanism to ensure the effective implementation of the arms ban, the Committee would continue to rely on the cooperation of States and organizations in a position to provide information on any violations.
'751 Committee' - Somalia
LAURO L. BAJA (Philippines), Chairman of the "751 Committee" on Somalia, established on 24 April 1992, said the Committee was the oldest subsidiary body in the Council today. While the situation in Somalia had been on the agenda since then, Council attention and treatment of the arms embargo had only picked up 10 years later. Having guided the Committee for two years, he commented on the 14-year-old sanctions regime and the Committee's working methods, in general.
Given the wide spectrum of divergent views, he said he found on his recent visit to the region that the Council might need to consider reassessing the sanctions regime. The inextricable link between the arms embargo and the political process, particularly when it concerned security inside the country and the practical considerations of implementing the regime, suggested that more reflection and action were needed to ensure that that component of the Council's strategy for achieving stability and security in Somalia was attuned to the present state of events. Lifting of sanctions, however, should be based on political judgement rather than on technical requirements for lifting sanctions.
Second, the engagement of the neighbouring States was essential for the effective implementation of the arms embargo, he stressed. Dialogue with those countries initiated under his chairmanship had provided more access, information and insights to the Committee and had resulted in more cooperation and commitment from those States. That should be continued and further enhanced. That dialogue was now being followed and institutionalized in other Council subsidiary bodies.
He said, third, that lack of capacity to enforce the embargo remained a critical issue. Without sufficient resources and capacities, which had not been forthcoming from the international community, enforcement became almost impossible. It might be recalled that the leaders at the 2005 World Summit had expressed their support in the Outcome Document for strengthening State capacity to implement sanctions provisions. Capacity-building would have to be addressed very soon. Fourth, maintaining a lively interface between the Committee and Monitoring Group would greatly facilitate the Committee's work.
In the coming months, he said that the Council would have to address several challenges: request by the Transitional Federal Government for exemption from the arms embargo to enable it to form a credible police force; request for similar exemption from the International Government Authority for Development (IGAD) for its trainers and observers; increasing piracy in Somalia waters and adjacent seas; and growing fundamentalism in the country.
'1566 Working Group' - Terrorism
Mr. BAJA said that the Working Group was mandated to consider and submit recommendations on practical measures to be imposed on individuals, groups of entities involved in or associated with terrorist activities, other than those designated by the Al-Qaida/Taliban Sanctions Committee. The resolution had further requested the Working Group to consider the possibility of establishing an international fund to compensate victims of terrorist acts and their families, and to submit those recommendations to the Council. A key strategy for the Group had been to maintain transparency and openness in its work. Contributions from non-members of the Council had been encouraged. More than 50 members and non-members of the Working Group had submitted written proposals on how to achieve the mandate.
He explained that the Working Group had agreed to explore possible recommendations to the Council under three broad headings: practical measures to be imposed against individuals, groups or entities involved in or associated with terrorist activities other than those designated by the Al-Qaida/Taliban Sanctions Committee; victims of terrorist acts; and scope of application of the measures that could be adopted under resolution 1566 (2004).
Under the heading of "practical measures", he said that the Group had agreed to focus on: freezing financial assets; preventing the supply of arms; strengthening prosecution and extradition; curtailing recruitment and training; preventing public provocation; and Internet use. On the issue of victims, members had agreed to discuss the support for victims and the possible establishment of a compensation fund for them. In the area of scope of application of the measures against terrorists other than those designated by the Al-Qaida/Taliban sanctions, members had agreed to discuss the question of establishing effective means to identify those individuals, groups and entities. The recommendations were contained in the Group's report, which would soon be circulated to the Council.
Turning to the completion of his delegation's two-year term on the Council, Mr. Baja made a few comments. Among them was that nation-building consumed more than half the Council's time, which tended to diffuse its focus from the more existential threats to international peace and security. As a result, real threats to global security were being addressed through actors and arrangements outside the Council. The establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission could relieve the Council of many economic, social and humanitarian dimensions of security crises. He also stressed that the Council must not only be transparent and accountable in its work, but also be seen and heard to be so by the international community. Some measures, therefore, should be taken to ensure its effective and efficient functioning, especially in informal consultations. Hopefully, the Council would find time to evaluate its own practice and performance from time to time. He also suggested a regular exchange of views, lessons learned and best practices among the various chairs of the subsidiary bodies. That would eliminate duplication of efforts and add synergy.
'1518 Committee' - Iraq
MIHNEA MOTOC (Romania), Chairman of the Council Committees established pursuant to resolutions 1518 (2003) and 1540 (2004), began with a report on the work of the 1518 Committee. That Committee was entrusted with the mandate to continue managing the list of individuals and entities associated with the deposed Iraqi regime in connection with the removal of financial and other assets from the country. Such funds, or other assets and economic resources, were to be frozen and repatriated in the Development Fund for Iraq. Currently, the list of individuals comprised 89 names, while that of entities stood at 206. Data confirmed by Iraqi officials testified to the returns of proceeds resulting from such freezes to the Iraqis through the Fund coming from 26 countries in an amount exceeding $1 billion.
This month, he noted, the first movable asset -- an executive jet -- was returned to Iraq, thanks to the efforts of the Governments of Liechtenstein and other States. Also, this month, the Committee adopted its delisting guidelines. He added that it was rewarding to work for such a noble cause as facilitating the return to Iraqis of what was rightfully theirs and contributing to the redress of one major injustice inflicted by the dictatorship onto its people. It was good to see throughout the past two years how the cooperation with the Iraqi authorities had improved at the pace of that country's overall transformation.
'1540 Committee' - Weapons of Mass Destruction
Turning to the work of the 1540 Committee, Mr. MOTOC said that, as of 16 December, 124 States had submitted their initial reports to the Committee, which sought to prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of non-State actors, including terrorists. The examination of those reports had been completed. Also, 40 States had responded to the request for additional information. In accordance with resolution 1540, the Committee undertook to operate as a clearing house on matters related to facilitating assistance to countries lacking the legal or regulatory infrastructure, implementation experience and/or resources for full compliance with the provisions of the resolution.
So far, he continued, the Committee had compiled in a structured manner and posted on its website all information on both available offers for assistance and needs evidenced by the reports. As the assessment by the Committee progressed, it would become clearer to what extent Member States, and international and regional organizations, could support the implementation process by providing directly or otherwise facilitating such assistance to those requesting it. In terms of outreach, the Chairman, Committee members and its experts had continued to raise the issue of further reporting and promoted the implementation of the resolution through a great number of meetings, conferences, seminars and workshops addressing a wide range of constituencies concerned.
A lot of work remained to be done to achieve universal reporting as required from resolution 1540, and to put available assistance to work, he said. Two years after the passing of the landmark resolution 1540, he believed more was known about the strengths and weaknesses of national systems in terms of preventing the nexus between weapons of mass destruction and terrorist groups. Headway had been made in the endeavour to secure the world with a safety belt of common minimal protective measures in that regard. He believed the work of the Committee should be extended and consolidated.
'1132 Committee' - Sierra Leone
RONALDO MOTA SARDENBERG (Brazil), Chairman of the Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1132 (1997) concerning Sierra Leone, recalled that following the military coup of May 1997, the Council had determined that the situation in Sierra Leone constituted a threat to international peace and security. In October 1997, by resolution 1132, the Council imposed an embargo on the supply of arms, petroleum and related products to Sierra Leone. A travel ban was also imposed on members of the military junta and relatives.
In March 1998, by resolution 1156, the Council lifted the oil embargo and, by its resolution 1171 of June 1998, it confirmed the removal of sanctions on the Government and reimposed the embargo on arms to Sierra Leone other than to the Government, as well as the travel ban on leading members of the Revolutionary United Front and of the former military junta.
On July 2000, by resolution 1306, the Council imposed an embargo on rough diamonds from Sierra Leone for 18 months, except those controlled by the Government through the certificate of origin regime. In 2001, the Council's measures regarding the import of rough diamonds from Sierra Leone were extended for 11 months by resolution 1385 and for a further six months in 2002, by resolution 1446. Subsequently, in light of the country's full participation in the Kimberley Process, the Council decided that the Government was able to ensure proper control over diamond mining areas and signalled its intention not to renew the import of rough diamonds from the country.
He said that he had been appointed Chairman of the 1132 Sanctions Committee for Sierra Leone for 2004-2005. Only the arms embargo and travel restrictions remained in force. Following consultations within the Committee on two occasions, some 18 names of individuals affected by sanctions were removed from the list and its last revised version was published in September 2004. During Brazil's two-year term, it had consulted with members of the Committee and of the Council on the need to streamline the legal basis for sanctions in Sierra Leone. That had not been discussed in detail within the Committee, as it was primarily a matter for the Council. In addition, the Committee had also acknowledged the need to safeguard the sensitive work of the Special Court.
The expertise of the sanctions committees should feed into the Council's decision-making process in appropriate ways, he said. There were often overlaps in the responsibilities of sanctions committees and the Council and they should be handled with some degree of flexibility, while recognizing that it was solely the Council that was responsible for decisions related to the actual scope and design of sanctions.
In his twenty-seventh report on the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), the Secretary-General indicated that over its six years of operation, the Mission had forged effective partnerships and placed Sierra Leone "on a firm path to post-conflict recovery". The Government had made further progress towards consolidating constitutional order and assuming full responsibility for the maintenance of security in the country. In spite of the challenges still presented by many root causes of the conflict in Sierra Leone and its fragile socio-economic situation, it was expected that the prevailing stable environment would allow for increasing international involvement and long-term sustainable peace dividends. The presence of the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) from 1 January 2006 would greatly contribute to that.
In that context, he said that as UNAMSIL completed its drawdown, the Council might soon start reviewing the Sierra Leone sanctions regime with a view to updating its legal basis, streamlining and updating the measures currently in place, as well as the Committee's mandate. Consultations within the Committee and with the Government of Sierra Leone would contribute to that end.
Working Group on Conflict in Africa
JEAN-FRANCIS REGIS ZINSOU (Benin), speaking on behalf of Ambassador Simon Bodéhoussè Idohou, the Chairman of the Council's Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa, said that in 2005, the Working Group continued its activities in a new context characterized by several elements. They included the ongoing debate on United Nations reform, where great emphasis was put on ways and means to meet the challenge of prevention of threats to collective security; an assessment of the implementation of the Millennium Declaration and of the Millennium Development Goals for which conflict prevention and resolution played a paramount role. In addition, Africa was still experiencing crisis and conflict situations in many countries. The Group followed closely the discussions in the Council on African issues. It met regularly whenever it felt necessary and to assess the situations and the possible contribution it could bring.
Besides discussions held in the Group and in the Council, the Group organized two major events, he said. The first was a policy forum on the topic "Enhancing the UN's Capacity for Conflict Prevention: The Role of the Security Council" on 13 June. The other was a seminar on the topic "Cooperation between the UN and the African regional organizations in the field of peace and security", held on 15 December.
As more than 60 per cent of the Council's time was dedicated to African issues, he said the Group's Chair held frequent bilateral and multilateral consultations with its members and the relevant departments of the Secretariat to promote a common understanding of the issues the Council was addressing. The Chair also met informally with the permanent representatives of the countries on the Council's agenda and of other interested countries, as well as with Special Representatives of the Secretary-General in Africa and exchanged views with them on the problems of those countries and the support the Council could give them in the various outcomes of its meetings.
The Working Group considered that the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission would solve the controversial question of the cooperation between the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council, taking into account the trend in the Council to draw clear lines between the mandates of those two bodies in the absence of institutional framework for cooperation even if the need and the usefulness of such cooperation was largely recognized by Council members as a means for achieving greater coherence in addressing complex crises in Africa.
An important milestone for the Group this year had been the wrap-up open debate held in the Security Council on 30 March, which had favoured an extensive exchange of views on the situation in Africa and on the ways and means to increase the effectiveness of the efforts made by the Council to cope with them. The conclusions of the debate provided guidance for the Working Group.
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