Security Council Resolution 2170 against the world’s richest terrorist organization

On 15 August 2014, about a week prior to harsh criticism from the outgoing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay ( available here ) for its lack of responsiveness, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2170 in response to the terrorist activities of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) and the Al Nusrah Fron (ANF) as well as other entities associated with Al-Qaida.

This resolution imposes three main duties on all states:

1. Action against the export of terrorist fighters

2. Action against the financing of terrorism

3. Sanctions

The first action consists of four sub-duties. Firstly, the duty of all states to take national measures to prevent the flow of foreign terrorist fighters to IS, ANF and connected entities. According to existing estimates, most fighters are foreign- many from Europe, from neighbouring countries and from as far as Indonesia and Chechnya. Secondly, the resolution imposes a duty to bring such individuals to justice. Thirdly, a duty to discourage individuals who are at risk of recruitment and violent radicalization to travel to Syria and Iraq for the purposes of supporting or fighting for IS and ANF. And finally, a duty to prevent direct and indirect supply, sale or transfer to IS, ANF and other individuals and groups associated with Al-Qaida, of arms and related material, as well as assistance and training related to military activities.

The second action, imposes a duty upon all states to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist acts, including the duty to prevent that economic resources are made available for the benefit of these groups. Since IS and ANF have control over a number of oilfields, this imposes a duty for states to refrain from engaging in energy trade with them.

The third action concerning sanctions, lists the names of six individuals on the sanctions list, and encourages that each state submits a list of individuals and entities supporting IS, ANF and similar gorups.

Combining both human and financial support, as well as direct and indirect support, the broadness of the resolution’s language makes it an effective legal tool for reducing the power of IS/ANF. But only if taken seriously, and if taken seriously by all states. Recognized as the riches terrorist organization in the world, the IS has been able to survive for as long as it has, through donations both from states and from individuals with and without connections to states. The resolution prohibits both. The exact answer to where the money comes from has been controversial and it is difficult to point to publicly accessible proofs. The Iraqi Premier Minister, Nouri al-Maliki said on 17 June 2014 that “we hold Saudi Arabia responsible” for the financial and moral support given to IS. Saudi Arabia’s close ally, the USA, rejected that accusation. However, some researchers have supported al-Maliki’s claim, and pointed not only to Saudi Arabia, but also to Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates- states of which the six black listed individuals in the resolution are citizens. Another important source of funding has been oil trade, an action also prohibited under the resolution. According to a US intelligence expert, IS draws as much as $ 1 million per day in oil profit from oil well under its control, in a market where demand is high.

Despite the universal condemnation of the IS and ANF, the content of Resolution 2170 clearly indicates that a number of states and individuals have been directly or indirectly cooperating with them. Clearly, someone is buying their oil, providing them with arms and money, and actively sending or not preventing own nationals from joining them. The resolution can thus be read as placing responsibility on the world community for having allowed for the existence of and for having supported the IS/ANF. It is positive that the Security Council now has used international law to point to the responsibility and duty of all states , but it is regrettable that it has to come after a heavy human cost.

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On the Job! Opportunity to serve as advocate for children in armed conflict

watchlistWatch List on Children in Armed Conflict welcomes applications for the position of Advocacy Officer.

Founded a dozen years ago, the New York-based nongovernmental organization that works on behalf of children in and affected by armed conflict through monitoring and reporting, through support of local groups, and through offering policy advice to U.N. entities working on the subject. It keeps track of developments in a dozen countries, from A (Afghanistan) to U (Uganda), and is the producer of the award-nominated smartphone app (icon below). The NGO’s publications include monthly updates on the issue as it plays out at the Security Council and elsewhere in the United Nations.

The new Advocacy Officer will be expected to promote these goals via a range of activities and duties. The successful applicant will have at least a master’s degree and 5 years’ work experience in relevant areas.children-in-armed-conflict-180

Applicant requirements and application details regarding this full-time position here.

(Cross-posted from Diane Marie Amann)

Time to rethink the women, peace and security agenda?

On June 24th 2013 the Security Council, under the Presidency of the United Kingdom, issued its sixth Agota Sjostromresolution on women, peace and security, Resolution 2106. Although under the rubric of women, peace and security, the new resolution focuses on measures to prevent and deter sexual violence in armed conflict. In continuing the focus on sexual violence the resolution takes us full circle from the first resolution on women, peace and security, Resolution 1325, which incorporated the Council’s response to sexual violence within armed conflict as an element of a broader approach. The new resolution, in contrast, places sexual violence as the primary concern and then incorporates additional issues relating to women, peace and security only as elements of responding to combating sexual violence– including HIV, sexual and reproductive health, women’s participation, disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration processes.

While deploring the violence and suffering men and women experience as victims of conflict, including sexual violence, I wish to challenge the disproportionate attention to sexual violence as the epitome of women’s experiences of armed conflict. The failure of this approach to see or hear women as actors across the spectrum of conflict experiences reinforces women as represented through victimhood, vulnerability and childhood. Although Resolution 2106 acknowledges men and women as victims of sexual violence in armed conflict (in paragraph 6 of the preamble) the operative paragraphs fall back into the use of ‘women and children’ terminology risking not only the erasure of the experiences of male survivors but also re-asserting an equivalence between women and children in conflict situations that is ultimately harmful to women. Continue reading

Ashgate Companion Symposium: Forsythe on ‘”Political trials”? The UN Security Council and the development of international criminal law’

Fac_ForsytheWe are delighted to welcome this guest post from Prof. David Forsythe, Charles J. Mach Distinguished Professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Close observers of world affairs will recall that international criminal law (ICL) began a renaissance in 1993 when the United Nations Security Council created the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia.  Since that time the UNSC has been involved many times in ICL issues concerning prosecution of individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes.  From one point of view the Council can be congratulated for taking steps to respond to atrocities that during the Cold War were often ignored.  From another point of view the Council has been highly political and therefore highly inconsistent in that response, often showcasing not the rule of law in international relations but rather the priority of short term and parochial “national interests” of member states– above all the Permanent members with the veto (P-5).  A central question is whether in the future the Council can display more principled commitment to legal justice and less variation based on P-5 strategic political calculation.

Space does not permit an extensive review of how the Council advanced ICL and a variety of types of criminal courts since 1993 with regard not only to the former Yugoslavia but also Rwanda, Sierra Leone (with implications for Liberia), East Timor, and Lebanon.  Likewise, after the creation of the permanent International Criminal Court (ICC) by treaty during 1998-2000, the UNSC was involved in criminal justice issues in places like Sudan (Darfur) and Libya.  All of this action for increased use of courts isunitednations apart from other Council steps in response to atrocities such as deployment of security forces in the field, appointment of diplomatic personnel, imposition of sanctions, and so on.  Moreover, sometimes the Council was not centrally involved in ICL developments, as when a state such as Ivory Coast or Kenya itself (not to mention Uganda, Central African Republic, or Democratic Congo) activated the ICC directly.  There were also other ICL developments outside the UNSC pertaining to the exercise by states of the principle of universal jurisdiction for egregious crimes like torture.  Nevertheless, the Council has been persistently involved in ICL since 1993. Continue reading