This topic falls within the terms of reference of the CAHDI insofar as they require it to "examine topical questions of public international law".

Under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the UN Security Council may order enforcement measures,* in particular measures not involving the use of armed force.**

The Security Council may order coercive measures against individuals, in particular in connection with the fight against international terrorism.  Such individuals are then targeted as members or supporters of entities posing a threat to peace.  This applies to individuals suspected of being members of Al-Qaeda or providing it with material or financial support.

The sanctions, which are often called "targeted sanctions" or "intelligent sanctions", usually involve:

  • freezing of financial assets, funds and other economic resources,
  • embargoes on arms sales,
  • bans on foreign travel.

The Security Council may decide to set up subsidiary bodies, namely Sanctions Committees, to oversee the proper implementation of the sanctions and draw up the lists of persons concerned on the basis of information submitted by states.  They also supervise the implementation of enforcement measures at state level.

UN member states are responsible for implementing sanctions at national level and are therefore required to adopt national implementation measures and make sure that the individuals concerned comply with them.

In the case of European Union member states, the implementation of sanctions is based on the adoption of joint positions or European Union regulations which are directly applicable in the member states' domestic legal systems.

*Article 39, Charter of the United Nations
"The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security".

**Article 41, Charter of the United Nations
"The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations".

Activities of the CAHDI

Since the 27th and 28th meetings (Strasbourg, 18-19 March 2004 and Lausanne, 12-13 September 2004), a specific item entitled "National implementation measures of UN sanctions and respect for human rights" has been included on the agenda.  Members discuss recent developments concerning the implementation of sanctions at each meeting.  In this connection, delegations give details of relevant national case-law and developments in legislation in their respective national or regional systems.

In addition, the CAHDI monitors and considers cases submitted to national tribunals by persons or entities removed from the lists established by the Sanctions Committees.

Details of state practice regarding the implementation of sanctions were first gathered in the form of replies to a questionnaire (sent to delegations in September 2004).  The replies were made available in a database established following the 31st meeting of the CAHDI (Strasbourg, 23-24 March 2006).  This database entitled "Implementation of UN sanctions and respect for human rights" is regularly updated with new input.


Special guests

At the 41st meeting of the CAHDI (Strasbourg, 17-18 March 2011), Ms Kimberly Prost, Ombudsperson to the UN Security Council Committee set up under Resolution 1267 (1999) concerning Al-Qaeda and the Taliban since 2010, gave a speech on the role and work of the Office of Ombudsperson (see Appendix V to the meeting report).

At the 31st meeting of the CAHDI (Strasbourg, 23-24 March 2006), Professor Iain Cameron presented a report on "The ECHR, Due Process and UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Sanctions" (see Appendix III to the meeting report).