Blacklisted: Targeted sanctions, preemptive security and fundamental rights

ECCHR-Report, December 2010

By Gavin Sullivan and Ben Hayes

10 December 2010 ECCHR have released a new critical report today on terrorism listing, written by Gavin Sullivan and Ben Hayes with a foreword by Martin Scheinin, the outgoing UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism. 

After outlining the ways that blacklisting breaches fundamental rights, reviewing the key case law, analysing the broader political impacts and problems of the regime and critically evaluating the possibilities for procedural reform, the Report argues that the policy of blacklisting is currently facing a crisis of legitimacy.  The time has come for radically rethinking the issue and for the international legal framework underpinning the blacklisting regimes to be abolished. As Martin Scheinin states in the Report's foreword:

Whatever justification there was in 1999 for targeted sanctions against Taliban leaders as the de facto regime in Afghanistan, the maintenance of a permanent global terrorist list now goes beyond the powers of the Security Council.  While international terrorism remains an atrocious crime ... it does not justify the exercise by the Security Council of supranational sanctioning powers over individuals and entities.

Blacklisted suggests that the core problems of the lists are bigger than the specific laws that have created the regimes and too important to be left to states, policy makers and the Courts to resolve on their own.  A broader public debate about how terrorism ought best be dealt with and what kind of political community we want to be a part of is necessary if the persistent problems of blacklisting are to be resolved rather than simply controlled.  

The Report is the first part of the 10 years after 9/11 ECCHR Publication Series that aims to critically evaluate the legacy of the 'war on terror' and examine how it has produced new configurations of power, violence and techniques of social control in the years that have followed 9/11.

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