‘Terrorist blacklists’ slated

Interesting little nugget spotted on SGOC blog, about the Council of Europe backing a report which criticises the current system of placing individuals and groups on ‘terrorism blacklists’ without any right of appeal:

The Committee finds that terrorism can and must be fought effectively with means that fully respect human rights and the rule of law. International bodies such as the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) ought to set an example for states in this respect, as a matter of their own credibility and that of the fight against terrorism in general.

Targeted sanctions against individuals or specific groups (“blacklists”) imposed by the United Nations Security Council and the Council of the European Union are, in principle, preferable to general sanctions imposed on states that often have dire consequences for vulnerable population groups whilst targeted sanctions such as travel restrictions and freezing of assets hurt only those found personally responsible.

As they have a direct impact on individual human rights such as personal liberty and the protection of property, the imposition of such targeted sanctions must respect minimum standards of procedural protection and legal certainty, as guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights and UN human rights instruments. The procedures currently in use at the UN and at the EU fall far short of these standards, as the present report and the examples given by the Rapporteur show.

The Committee therefore appeals to the Council of Europe’s member states to use their influence in the United Nations and in the European Union to improve procedures for the imposition of sanctions in the two bodies in line with its recommendations and encourages national and European courts to provide the necessary legal remedies to the victims of unfair procedures currently in use.

EUobserver adds a little context:

The parliamentarian assembly of the Council of Europe on Wednesday (23 January) backed a report saying the use of terrorist black-lists by the UN and the EU violate fundamental rights.

Besides breaching human rights, the procedures used by both the UN Security Council and the EU to put individuals or groups suspected of having links with terrorism on a black-list are “completely arbitrary”, the Council of Europe lawmakers said in a statement.

…It is the governments who choose who is put on the black-lists, but they currently do it disrespecting the right to a fair trial, according to the author of the report, Dick Marty.

The former Swiss state prosecutor called for those that are about to be blacklisted to be notified and then compensated in cases where no evidence is found against them – as has happened.

However, “it is almost impossible” to be withdrawn from such a list, Mr Marty said, citing the case of The People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI) as an example.

The PMOI had been classified as a terrorist organisation but protested and won its case at the European Court of Justice – however, it is today still on the EU’s black-list.

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