CTED launches global initiative on freezing terrorist assets
The Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) has launched a global initiative aimed at helping Member States set up effective mechanisms to freeze terrorist assets in accordance with their obligations under Security Council resolution 1373 (2001). The initiative was launched at an expert meeting, hosted on 22 October by the Central Bank of the Netherlands in Amsterdam. The expert meeting will be followed by a series of regional workshops to be held in various regions of the world.
Member States; international, regional and subregional organizations; and the private sector were represented at the three-day Amsterdam event. The participants (mainly legal and financial experts) discussed the freezing provisions of resolution 1373 (2001) and the challenges they face in implementing those provisions. They examined the merits and limitations of various freezing regimes; identified good national practices that could be shared with other States; and agreed to incorporate the outcomes of the meeting into the planned regional workshops.
Through its country visits on behalf of the Counter-Terrorism Committee and other assessment work, CTED has found that many States do not have a designation process in place; that their laws do not always include provisions for immediate freezing; and that guidance and communication with the financial sector are often insufficient.
“As a facilitator of technical assistance, our goal is to help States overcome these and other challenges linked to the implementation of resolution 1373,” said Mr. Hassan Baage, Deputy Head of CTED’s Assessment and Technical Assistance Office. “We believe an effective, fair and balanced asset freezing mechanism is an important component of a national counter-terrorism strategy.”
Security Council resolution 1373 (2001) requires Member States to freeze without delay funds and other financial assets of people who commit, or attempt to commit, terrorist acts. The assets of those who participate in, or facilitate the commission of such acts must also be frozen in order to disrupt terrorism financing. In order to comply with the resolution, States are required to set up a national designation mechanism that respects due process and be able to review and respond to international freezing requests.
“While the sharing of best practices is interesting, this forum served as a place for an open discussion on the dilemmas and complications we face in freezing assets, whether they be about due process concerns, the challenge of inter-agency cooperation or information exchange without overstepping privacy and data sharing concerns,” Ms. Fenke de Vries, Department Director of the Supervision Expertise Centres at the Dutch Central Bank, underlined in her opening remarks.
The regional workshops will give participants a vital opportunity to discuss a range of issues (including their respective States’ legislative, institutional and operational challenges) and to identify solutions.
All events will be jointly organized with the relevant FATF-style regional bodies. The initiative will be implemented in partnership with the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States.