Press conference to present ombudsperson of Security Council’s 1267 Committee

16 Jul 2010

Press conference to present ombudsperson of Security Council’s 1267 Committee

NEW YORK - Kimberly Prost, the newly appointed Ombudsperson of the Security Council’s 1267 Committee — also known as the Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee — pledged at Headquarters today that she would make her office independent and accessible to sanctioned individuals seeking redress.

The Office of the Ombudsperson, which will consider petitions from individuals seeking to be removed from the Committee’s consolidated list that freezes the assets and limits the travel of key Al-Qaida and Taliban figures, was established with the intention of making the sanctions regime fair and effective.

“My aim is to turn that objective into a reality over the coming weeks and months,” Ms. Prost said at a press conference to present the first ever person to be appointed Ombudsperson of a sanctions committee.  She described the creation of the Office as a “good faith, serious step in the development of the 1267 regime” and in addressing serious concerns over due process.  While the role of Ombudsperson would not involve making recommendations to the Committee, she expressed confidence that it would appropriately consider her assessments.

She said she would seek out all sources of relevant information in order to ensure impartiality, and work objectively and independently to build trust in the Office among petitioners.  All cases would be given equal weight, she emphasized, adding that the Office would have a stand-alone website, public email address and simple, straightforward submission procedures for petitioners.

Accompanying Ms. Prost was Thomas Mayr-Harting ( Austria), Chair of the 1267 Committee, who said that the Committee and the Secretary-General believed Ms. Prost was the most qualified person in the world for the job.  A legal expert with wide-ranging international experience in counter-terrorism, human rights and sanctions regimes, she had served as an ad litem Judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia since 2006.

Asked about the number of cases before her, including the backlog, Ms. Prost said that Council resolution 1904 (2009), under which the Office of Ombudsperson was created, did not provide for the automatic transfer of existing cases, but she had received a new case submitted after the Office had been established.

Regarding her ability to reach out to would-be petitioners worldwide, considering the geographical and language barriers, she expressed hope of meeting with petitioners’ representatives, particularly in countries where access was problematic, and would accept submissions from all qualified representatives in order to facilitate and simplify the process.

As for requests by the Afghan Government for the de-listing of 10 individuals, Ms. Prost said the Committee, not her Office, would continue to consider petitions by States.  Mr. Mayr-Harting, declining to give specifics, added that the Afghan authorities had historically asked for a number of de-listings, and the Committee was in the process of reviewing the names.

On whether Ms. Prost would consider intelligence data, she said she would consider that and all other material so as to ensure as complete a record as possible.

Asked why the office of Ombudsperson had been created only for the 1267 Committee and not other sanctions bodies, Mr. Mayr-Harting said the 1267 Committee was “the mother regime of all sanctions regimes”, in which the lack of due process was most criticized in court.  If the Office proved effective in strengthening due process and the rule of law, it should serve as a model for others in the Organization.