Mr. Erkki Tuomioja, Minister for Foreign Affairs
EU-US Workshop on Financial Sanctions to Combat Terrorism:
Transparency and Fairness in Listing and De-listing, 27 September 2006
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you to this Workshop that brings together experts from the United States and the European Union to discuss financial sanctions to combat terrorism. The discussions in the next two days will build on the valuable work done in the previous workshops organised in Luxemburg, the UK and Austria. The workshop in Helsinki thus continues a close dialogue between experts from the EU and the US to share practical experiences and to explore ways to enhance the financial sanctions mechanism as an effective tool in the fight against terrorism. As is appropriate between good friends, these workshops also provide a possibility for learning from each other.
The specific theme of the Helsinki workshop is Transparency and Fairness in Listing and De-listing. It is broadly acknowledged that counter-terrorist sanctions directed at individuals and entities create specific challenges that are different from those related to more traditional sanctions. In particular, they raise questions concerning the guarantees of due process and the rule of law. In the 2005 World Summit of the United Nations, the Heads of State called upon the Security Council, with the support of the Secretary-General, to ensure that fair and clear procedures exist for placing individuals and entities on sanctions lists and for removing them. The issue has been raised in a number of other contexts as well, including in academic studies. It has become a standing item on the agendas of AlQaida-Taliban Committee and its Monitoring Team. The Security Council also considered sanctions and due process in the context of its open debate, in June 2006, on ”Strengthening international law: rule of law and maintenance of international peace and security”.
With regard to the implementation of the conclusions of the 2005 UN Summit Outcome, useful work has also been done by the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs. The study on ”Targeted Sanctions and Due Process” commissioned by the Office of Legal Affairs identifies four main elements related to the rights of due process to be guaranteed in the case of sanctions imposed on individuals and entities. Firstly, the right of a designated person or entity to be informed about the measures taken against them. Secondly, the right of a person or entity to be heard by the Security Council or a subsidiary body. Thirdly, the right of such a person or entity of being advised and represented. And finally, the right to an effective remedy before an impartial institution. Many of these main elements will also be dealt with in the Workshop today and tomorrow.
Sanctions are an important tool to maintain and restore international peace and security. They are an essential part of a comprehensive approach that includes political dialogue and, as a last resort, the use of coercive measures in accordance with the UN Charter. Sanctions are effectively used to support the international efforts to combat terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and to uphold respect for human rights, democracy, the rule of law and good governance. To advance these objectives, the sanctions imposed by the Security Council have to be implemented universally and in an efficient and timely manner. Furthermore, we call for a wide support from our partners for the EU autonomous sanctions regimes.
Sanctions directed against private individuals and entities are part of the trend towards the use of more targeted sanctions, so-called smart sanctions. The purpose of these measures is to directly influence the targeted individuals and entities while reducing negative humanitarian consequences of sanctions. Targeted sanctions regimes often consist of financial sanctions, travel restrictions and visa bans. It has been in particular the freezing of assets and the financial sanctions, which have raised concerns relating to the due process.
Counter-terrorist sanctions typically involve targeted sanctions against private individuals and entities. Their objective, however, differs from other sanctions regimes. Whereas most sanctions regimes are used as incentives to change the targets’ behaviour, financial sanctions to combat terrorism have primarily a preventive effect, as they aim to prevent the financing of terrorism and deter the commission of acts of terrorism.
The tool of targeted sanctions should be constantly developed in order to improve its efficiency. Increased credibility of sanctions regimes will also contribute to the efficient implementation of sanctions. Designated persons are directly and individually affected by financial sanctions. In the EU, it has been agreed that a transparent and effective de-listing procedure is essential to the credibility and legitimacy of sanctions.
The aim of this workshop is to share experiences of procedures and criteria related to the listing and de-listing of individuals and entities for counter-terrorist purposes. The workshop will also discuss ways to improve the transparency and fairness of the relevant sanctions regimes. It will build on the broad experience that the national experts and policy makers from the member states of the European Union and the United States as well as from the EU institutions and the UN bring along with them to this workshop. In addition to delegations from the EU and the US,I also welcome the representatives from the Acceding Countries, Romania and Bulgaria, as well as from Switzerland and Norway to the workshop.
I encourage you to make this a very useful workshop and wish that you enjoy your stay in Helsinki.