Freezing terrorist assets in West Africa
A regional workshop on freezing of terrorist assets pertaining to Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001) designed for member States of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WEAMU) and Guinea took place in Dakar from 11 to 13 December 2012. CTED and the Intergovernmental Action Group against Money-Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) with the support of the Swiss Government organized the event, which is part of CTED’s global initiative launched in October 2012 to help States set up effective national freezing mechanisms.
Speaking at the workshop’s opening session, Dr. Ndèye Elisabeth Diaw, Deputy Director General of GIABA, said the objective of asset freezing measures “is to starve terrorists of the supply of goods, funds, assets, equipments and everything else that permits or facilitates the perpetration of their criminal acts.”
Dr. Diaw said that achieving this objective is particularly important at a time when West Africa is being “besieged from all sides” by terrorist movements like Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, Ansar Dine in northern Mali, Boko Haram in Nigeria, and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa.
Over 40 participants, along with regional and international experts from Belgium, France, the Netherlands, the United States as well as from the West African Central Bank (BCEAO), the Secretariat of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and Interpol, examined the various elements comprising a comprehensive national freezing system and similarities and differences between asset freezing obligations under Security Council resolution 1373 and resolutions 1267, 1988 and 1989.
Mr. Hassan Baage, Deputy Head of CTED’s Assessment and Technical Assistance Office, said CTED will continue to support national, regional and international efforts to fight terrorism. “We will work together with Member States to strengthen their capacity to implement resolution 1373, in particular its provisions to prevent and suppress terrorist financing,” Mr. Baage said.
The Security Council resolution requires States to freeze without delay the assets of individuals or entities linked to terrorism, starting with setting up a designation mechanism and dealing with foreign requests for freezing. The mechanism also includes respect for due process, appeal procedures available to those designated, and options to revise the designation and asset freezing measures.
Participants were given an opportunity to discuss other countries’ practices and experiences and to set out the status of enforcement of the freezing obligations contained in the Uniform legislation on the financing of terrorism, which all WEAMU countries adopted. Each delegation presented detailed recommendations on concrete steps towards implementation of national freezing mechanisms, which will be followed up with the support of the GIABA Secretariat.