Vienna, 8 June 2010 - "With the appointment of an ombudsperson for the Al-Qaeda/Taliban terror list, an essential initiative by Austria toward strengthening the rule of law in the UN Security Council has now been implemented", said Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger, welcoming today’s appointment of the Canadian judge Kimberly Prost as the first ombudswoman by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
"This closes a gap in international legal protection. Until now, individuals who appear on this UN terror list did not have the possibility to appeal to an independent tribunal. This is in contradiction with the generally accepted legal standards and procedural guarantees", Spindelegger continued. "Therefore, in the UN Security Council we massively backed the appointment of an ombudsperson, creating an independent and impartial position where all those can appeal to who feel they have wrongly been included in the list."
The improvement of the rule of law is one of the priorities of Austria as a non-permanent member in the UN Security Council. Austria’s efforts as chair of the Al-Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee led to the adoption of Security Council resolution 1904 in December 2009, which determined the appointment of an ombudsperson as well as several procedural improvements in the work on the Al-Qaeda/Taliban list.
The Canadian Kimberly Prost is now the first experienced jurist to take over as ombudsperson. During the past four years, Prost served as a judge with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague. Before that, she was the head of the Legal Advisory Section at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna. "Austria wanted a strong and independent personality for this new task. I am very happy that Kimberly Prost will be the first to hold the office of the ombudsperson. I wish to extend her my warm congratulations and I am convinced that she will put her experience and knowledge to the best possible use", concluded Spindelegger.
Since early 2009, Austria has been chairing the Al-Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee, which is responsible for managing the UN terror list. This list includes some 500 persons and organisations that are associated with the terror organisation Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. They are subject to sanctions such as travel bans, arms embargos, and the freezing of assets.
(For further information on the Sanctions Committee, go to www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/index.shtml
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