UNSC Designated Terrorist

Context: The ISIL and Al Qaida Sanctions Committee of the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) has placed Abdul Rehman Makki, a fundraiser and key planner of the Pakistan-based terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), on its sanctions list.

About the News

  • The deputy head of terror organization Lashkar-e-Taiba, Abdul Rehman Makki, was blacklisted as a global terrorist by the United Nations  after China withdrew its hold on a joint bid by India and the U.S. for the listing of Pakistan-based terrorists.
  • The 68-year-old, who is the brother-in-law of LeT chief and Mumbai 26/11 attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed, was added to the sanctions list of the UN Security Council’s ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee — more commonly known as the UNSC 1267 Committee — for his involvement in “raising funds, recruiting and radicalizing youth to violence and planning attacks in India”.
  • As a result of this designation, Abdul Rehman Makki will be subjected to a travel ban, assets freeze, and an arms embargo.

Who is Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki?

  • Makki served as the head of the political affairs wing and played an instrumental role in raising funds for LeT’s operations.  He was a member of the Shura, or governing body of the LeT, and the head of the outfit’s foreign relations department.
  • He was designated as a wanted terrorist due to his “leadership positions” when the LeT carried out the Red Fort attack in 2000 and the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008.
  • In 2010, the US Department of the Treasury designated Makki as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist”, or SDGT, a sanction limiting Makki’s ability to access American resources.

1267 Sanctions regime

  • Counter-terrorism is an important objective of UN Security Council (UNSC) sanctions adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.1
  • The two main UNSC regimes establishing sanctions against individuals and entities suspected of terrorism are known as the 1267 regime and the 1373 regime. They impose mandatory obligations on all UN members concerning their implementation.
  • The 1267 sanctions regime was initially based on three UNSC resolutions.
    • First, UNSCR 1267 (1999), adopted following the Al-Qaeda attacks on United States (US) embassies in East Africa, imposed a limited air embargo and assets freeze on individuals and entities connected with the Taliban in Afghanistan.
    • Second, UNSCR 1333 (2000), extended those sanctions to individuals and entities associated with Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. This regime evolved to include asset freezes, travel bans and arms embargoes against individuals and entities named on the 1267 Sanctions List, without the requirement of any territorial connection and for a potentially unlimited period of time (UNSCR 1390 (2002)). A Sanctions Committee was established to oversee the regime. In 2011, UNSCR 1988 split the regime in two: a new Taliban sanctions regime was established alongside the Al-Qaida sanctions regime.
    • Finally, UNSCR 2253 (2015) extended the Al-Qaida Sanctions List to individuals and entities connected with the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), changing the title of the Sanctions Committee and of the Sanctions List, now the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions List.
  • The 1267 Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee comprises 15 members of the Security Council.

Listing Procedure & Sanctions

  • Under the listing procedure, any UN member state may submit names to the Sanctions Committee to request their inclusion on the Sanctions List.
  • The committee approves or rejects the listing requests, unless a UNSC member objects within a certain period. All decisions of the Committee are taken through consensus.
  • Once an individual or entity is placed on the Sanctions List, all UN member states are obliged to implement the asset freeze, arms embargo and travel ban against them

Listing Criteria

Acts or activities indicating that an individual, group, undertaking or entity is associated with ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida include:

  • Participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of;
  • Supplying, selling or transferring arms and related materiel to;
  • Recruiting for; or otherwise supporting acts or activities of, ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Qaida or any cell, affiliate, splinter group or derivative thereof.

1373 Regime

  • The other main counter-terrorist sanctions regime was set up by the UNSC by means of Resolution 1373 (2001) in the aftermath of the attacks on 11 September, 2001.
  • The resolution requires states to criminalise the support of terrorism, by freezing the funds of those suspected of making financial resources available to terrorists and by introducing domestic legislation making support for terrorist acts a serious criminal offence, sanctioned accordingly. UNSCR 1373(2001) therefore establishes a ‘parallel’ or ‘decentralised’ listing system, whereby UN member states are given discretion over decisions on whom to list.
  • Under this regime, suspects or groups need not therefore necessarily be associated with Al-Qaeda or the Taliban, as UNSCR 1373 allows for the listing of individuals or groups as considered necessary ‘to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist acts’.
  • As these designations are made at national or regional level, however, individuals or groups have greater means to challenge their listing, including through judicial review. The 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) was established as a subsidiary body of the UNSC to monitor the implementation of the 1373 regime.

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