25 November 2014 – Security Council – Sanctions - Statement by Mr. Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
I would like to begin by thank the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs and the Secretary General of INTERPOL for their very specific and useful briefings. I also want to thank you, Mr. President, and Australia for your commitment to this issue and for organizing today’s debate. It allows us to consider sanctions, a tool increasingly used by the Security Council.
Last week, on 19 November, Ansar al-Sharia Derna and Ansar al-Sharia Benghazi were placed under sanctions. The Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999) concerning Al-Qaida and the Taliban and associated individuals and entities thereby showed its vital role in support of the political process carried out in Libya by Special Representative Bernardino León. The designation of Ansar al-Sharia sends a clear message to the terrorists: it confirms the determination of the international community, and it encourages moderate Islamists to distance themselves from terrorists and to rejoin the political dialogue.
Increasingly, Security Council sanctions are a way of assisting States in restoring stability. That was one of the goals of the Security Council this year when it established a new sanctions regime in the Central African Republic. In imposing sanctions against individuals who threaten the return to peace and in restricting the flow of arms or trafficking in natural resources, the international community is assisting the Central African Republic in its stabilization process.
Indeed, sanctions are not an end in and of themselves. They are a tool at our disposal to achieve a political objective. In that context, the application of sanctions requires maintaining a firm attitude while remaining open to dialogue as part of a dual approach.
As I said earlier, sanctions are not punitive but rather preventive instruments. The Security Council is not a judge and has no intention of becoming one, but it does bear the responsibility to maintain international peace and security. It is clear that sanctions are an important instrument at the Security Council’s disposal in exercising its responsibilities. We welcome the increased use by the Council of this tool, and it is a positive development that its usage has evolved in recent years. Sanctions are now targeted, and procedural guarantees have been put in place.
Among the procedural guarantees, mechanisms aimed at enabling the delisting of persons are key, as stressed earlier by Jeffrey Feltman. It is vital to respect the fundamental freedoms of listed persons and to ensure that the regimes have adequate procedural guarantees. That is why France supported the establishment of a focal point for delisting requests regarding the other sanctions regimes and the gradual strengthening of the Ombudsperson’s mandate within the Al-Qaida sanctions Committee, who is working specifically on the issue of persons seeking to be delisted. I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the high quality of the work carried out by the Ombudsperson.
Moreover, sanctions lists are useful only if they accurately reflect the status of the threat. Sanctions must therefore be based on a political strategy that is continuously being tailored to the context. Here I wish to highlight the specificity of each of the various sanctions regimes.
It is vital that sanctions be implemented in a universal manner. Here cooperation between INTERPOL and the sanctions Committees has been exemplary. The establishment of special INTERPOL-United Nations notices allows the services responsible for the application of the law around the world to be informed of whether an individual or entity is subject to Security Council sanctions. With the threat posed by the issue of foreign terrorist combatants and in the framework of the struggle against Daesh, this type of mechanism is all the more vital.
Finally, the private sector, like States, has a key role to play in the implementation of sanctions regimes. It would be desirable if the United Nations and Member States stepped up their dialogue with the private sector. Economic operators should be encouraged to adopt good practices in terms of the application of sanctions in the form of the implementation of specific prevention measures and through increased cooperation with public authorities, in order to facilitate the interception of illicit merchandise and combat trafficking.
All measures that can be taken to assist States in their efforts to implement that goal must be supported. Sanctions are the only instruments at our disposal that contain a coercive dimension but that do not include the use of force. They are valuable instruments that help us to shoulder our responsibilities in the area of peace and security, and it is in our interest to improve their effectiveness and universality.