United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee
The Counter-Terrorism Committee is a subsidiary body of the United Nations Security Council.
In the wake of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1373, which, among its provisions, obliges all States to criminalize assistance for terrorist activities, deny financial support and safe haven to terrorist and share information about groups planning terrorist attacks.
The 15-member Counter-Terrorism Committee was established at the same time to monitor implementation of the resolution. While the ultimate aim of the Committee is to increase the ability of States to fight terrorism, it is not a sanctions body nor does it maintain a list of terrorist organizations or individuals.
The body has been effective in requiring member states to take steps to deny terrorists safe havens, prohibiting the raising or transferring of funds, freezing assets and sharing information about possible terrorists activities. The obligations are generic rather than aimed at any particular group, state or incident. These features have made it easier for member states to accept the work of the Counter-Terrorism Committee.
The Counter-Terrorism Committee has, under the leadership of Jeremy Greenstock of the United Kingdom, operated with transparency and patience. Working with technical experts the Counter-Terrorism Committee has investigated how particular member states can be helped, such as through model legislation, training or administrative practices to meet their (United Nations Security Council Resolution) 1373 obligations. While the Counter-Terrorism Committee is not a direct capacity provider it does act as a broker between those states or groups that have the relevant capacities and those in the need of assistance.
Seeking to revitalize the Committee’s work, in 2004 the Security Council adopted Resolution 1535, creating the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) to provide the CTC with expert advice on all areas covered by resolution 1373. CTED was established also with the aim of facilitating technical assistance to countries, as well as promoting closer cooperation and coordination both within the UN system of organizations and among regional and intergovernmental bodies.
During the September 2005 World Summit at the UN, the Security Council – meeting at the level of Heads of States or Government for just the third time in its history – adopted Resolution 1624 concerning incitement to commit acts of terrorism. The resolution also stressed the obligations of countries to comply with international human rights laws.
The leaders also resolved to conclude work on the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism, including a legal definition of terrorist acts, during the sixtieth session of the General Assembly. This achievement would mark the culmination of years of negotiation and debate on various proposals, including those contained in Secretary-General Kofi Annan's report, “In Larger Freedom.” In this document, he called urgently for the adoption of a definition of terrorism similar to that contained in the report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, which states “that the targeting and deliberate killing of civilians and non-combatants cannot be justified or legitimized by any cause or grievance, and that any action intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants, when the purpose of such an act, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population or to compel a Government or an international organization to carry out or to abstain from any act cannot be justified on any grounds and constitutes an act of terrorism.”
Participants in the Summit also welcomed the Secretary-General's speech, delivered in Madrid in March 2005, in which he unveiled a counter-terrorism strategy based on the five “D’s” – dissuade, deny, deter, develop and defend – and said that the General Assembly should develop those elements into a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy.
The entire family of United Nations agencies, funds and programmes remains committed to the global counter-terrorism effort, whether by combating nuclear terrorism and stemming the proliferation of nuclear weapons or providing technical assistance to countries with a view to ratification and implementation of the legal instruments against terrorism.
- Counter-Terrorism Committee
- The Security Council. From the Cold War to the 21st Century. David Malone. Rienne Publishers. 2004
- Counter-Terrorism Committee : UN Action Against Terrorism