July 16th, 2010
08:36 AM ET

People suspected of al Qaeda, Taliban links can appeal UN blacklisting

The avenue of appeal is now open for people who believe they are unfairly on a U.N. Security Council blacklist of individuals with suspected connections to al Qaeda or the Taliban.

A United Nations official, who will review requests to get off the list, appeared before reporters in New York Thursday, for the first time since being appointed last month. Kimberly Prost has the title of "ombudsperson" for the highly sensitive position with the controversial list, which was established in 1999.

Prost said that she views the creation of the job as a "good faith, serious effort" by a U.N. sanctions committee to answer the "serious concerns" raised about due process regarding the list.

Those on the blacklist are subject to asset freezes and restrictions on international travel. The list was created by the Security Council in 1999, in the wake of al Qaeda bombings of two American embassies in East Africa.

Prost will receive direct appeals from those wishing to be de-listed. She will review cases and present her findings to the sanctions committee. But she will not include a recommendation on whether the person be de-listed. It will be up to the sanctions committee, composed of Security Council members, whether to remove the petitioner.

Prost is a former Canadian prosecutor who has since 2006 served as a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Austrian Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting, who heads the Security Council sanctions committee that manages the list, described her as "the most qualified candidate we could think of."

The opening of the ombudsperson's office comes at a time when Afghan President Hamid Karzai has sent the Security Council ten names he wants removed from the list.

Diplomats who recently met with Karzai in Kabul say that he would like even more names removed, as the Afghanistan government seeks inroads with Taliban sympathizers.

Ambassador Mayr-Harting thought that the public outcry on the blacklist was growing too large to ignore. "It was the [sanctions] regime where the lack in due process was criticized most strongly by courts, by political structures, and also within the U.N. system," he said at a press conference Thursday. The creation of the ombudsperson position was mandated by a Security Council resolution that was passed last year.

Prost acknowledges that there is much work to be done for her office to be effective.

Perhaps most importantly is simply publicizing its existence. "This office will be of little value if it's not known, if it's not visible, and if it's not easily accessible," she said. Many of those on the list do not speak English, and may have a hard time navigating the United Nations system.

To that end, Prost said that she will set up an independent website that will show potential petitioners how to get in contact with her office. She promised to meet with "relevant representatives of countries where those issues of accessibility will be significant." And she added that submissions via a representative would be accepted, even if that representative was not a lawyer, as long as she was convinced of the application's legitimacy.

There were no specific criteria for de-listing laid out in the Security Council resolution. But Mayr-Harting said that there was an understanding among committee members on at least three: renouncing violence, breaking all ties with al Qaeda and the Taliban, and - in the case specifically of Afghanistan - accepting the Afghan constitution.

Prost conceded that she may face roadblocks trying to gather all the information on why an individual was put on the list, especially if that information came from national intelligence agencies. But she said she would make the review process as thorough as possible.

"I'm not simply going to sit back and say, 'Bring me your application and Ill check it off,' you know, yes or no. I'm going to work with the individuals with a view to getting all of the information and doing a thorough analysis," she said.

It is not clear that the establishment on an "ombudsperson" will completely satisfy President Karzai, who views reconciliation with the Taliban as an important step towards peace in his country. Prost will only review petitions that come directly from individuals or organizations on the list, not from governments. Those appeals will continue to go directly to the sanctions committee.

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Filed under: al Qaeda • Taliban
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

    The world be better off if People like You keep Jesus to themselves!!! We are all GODS Children...

    July 19, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BONNET

    Hey everyone go to GLC "Gods learning channel and listen to Walit Shoebat an ex-Muslin

    July 18, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. mike20000

    Smith in Oregon Great info.

    July 18, 2010 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Smith in Oregon

    American Soldiers overseas should be aware that their friends in America are now watched and ensured to be well:

    The United States National Security Agency (NSA) has unveiled it's latest ultimate snooping, invasive and eavesdropping tool targeting ALL Americans connected to the Nations Power-Grid!

    During the utterly depraved invasive East Berlin era, the East German security forces discovered a very innovative mechanical means to connect to the city's hot water pipes supplying citizens heat radiator's which could be selectively tuned to eavesdrop and tune specifically into conversations in any residents home or dwelling! Using current computer technology, America's NSA has taken that to a new level of corrupt, invasive depravity with it's Operation 'Perfect Citizen' coming to your US Home soon!

    The scope of the depraved invasion on American freedoms and liberty's in America's homes under Operation 'Perfect Citizen' is truly amazing. The NSA appears to have been given the 'Green Light' to attach NSA 'sensors' and 'computer links' to the Public Utility power feed-lines across America. This under the 'guise' of alerting the NSA against a cyber-attack upon a local Power Company's power-grid.

    Americans are not universally stupid nor ignorant enough to even think the NSA cares about how much electrical energy Americans are using although in the past local heavy handed law enforcement agency's have targeted private individuals with heavy electrical energy for door busting marijuana searches.

    However the vast number of American's do not realize how much information is received and carried already on the Nations Power Grid lines. Many home intra-net's now are using the power grid, metro-city areas are adopting intra-net and internet data processing thru home power grid's as direct tie-in's. ALL of the Nation's power grid operators pass messages, and ton's of information in digital and analog packet's on the very lines carrying power into your very homes!

    In the most basic form, the nation's power grid forms a gigantic antenna array which picks up computer keystrokes and virtually all kinds of electrical signals which can in turn relay that specific information to the NSA under the 'Perfect Citizen' operation.

    Sadly, this appears to directly go against President Obama's campaign promises of not allowing nor permitting further invasions of America's Freedoms, Liberty's and Rights which were entirely under assault during the horrific Republican administration of Bush-Cheney. Does this signal that like the CIA with Afghanistan's Opium-Heroin trafficking, America's NSA is no longer controlled by the Executive Branch of Government?

    Sadly, this also signals that American citizens who thru alternative energy choose to 'go off the grid' will likely be harassed and targeted as unpatriotic and suspected of conducting unpatriotic activities.

    Operation 'Perfect Citizen' illustrates the extreme height of paranoia in some of the dark, nefarious federal agency's in America much like East German security agency's prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    July 17, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      This Country would be better off without them... We get better information from the Countries we are helping than we get from them!!!

      July 19, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. CGeorgeK

    As the occupying force in Afghanistan, our presence creates Taliban sympathizers. The mathematical formula to determine this is, "multiply each innocent Afghan that has died by their hands (Taliban) or our hands (America/Coalition/Afghan military) by the number of relatives each one has". As an occupying force – from the viewpoint of the majority of inhabitants of Afghanistan – we are responsible for everything that goes on in that country. Ignore the rare and token individuals interviewed by the propaganda press exclaiming, "we love Americans, glad you are here, hope you send more troops" – it is as much fiction as are the reasons for our presence.

    July 17, 2010 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      We are trying to help make things better there!!! Not for us but for them... That is a good thing not bad!!!

      July 19, 2010 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Larry Valecia, Calif.USMC Forever

    I thought only Israeli were on the UN list???? You mean they have another one???

    July 17, 2010 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. risab

    the taliban dont care about black list white list or what ever it is .....they have their own black list all the americans, israelis and british are in their black list

    July 17, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.USMC Forever

      Anyone that isn't a Taliban is Their Enemy!!!

      July 17, 2010 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. CGeorgeK

    So, this is democracy at work, eh? It seems more like the technique Hitler used to round up the Jews in WWII. Turn in those Taliban (Jews) or your name will go on the list as a sympathizer. He said, she said, they said, who said, those people over there are the Taliban (Jews) – but, of course, not us over here... This will create such sweeping animosity toward Coalition forces and America – the effects will resonate for decades.

    July 17, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.USMC Forever

      Right and Hamas are Jews too right???

      July 17, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • BUBBA--ALABAMA STYLE!!!

      Well put,CGeorgeK.

      July 17, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |