Abu Dhabi: Qatar may face Security Council sanctions for failing to comply with Resolution 1373, which the Security Council passed unanimously soon after the September 11 attacks, legal experts said.
“Qatar could face UN Security Council sanctions in view of its failure to comply with the council’s counter-terrorism resolutions,” Dr Mohammad Hassan Al Qasim, Dean of College of law and professor of International Law at the UAE University, told Gulf News.
Dr Al Qasim explained that any UN member can demand that the Security Council issue a new resolution imposing sanctions on Qatar, in the light of an almost international unanimity that Doha failed to meet commitments to fight terrorism.
Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt as well as several other countries severed diplomatic and transport ties with Doha on Monday, accusing it of supporting militants and their arch-foe Iran — charges Qatar denies.
On Thursday, the four countries collectively designated 59 individuals and 12 institutions that have financed terrorist organisations and received support from Qatar.
Dr Al Qasim said the Security Council Resolution 1373 instructed all member states to counteract terror activities by domestic measures such as criminalising the financing of terrorism, freezing funds of anyone associated with terrorism, and denying any form of financial support to terrorist groups. The resolution also called on member states to coordinate and share information with other states in combating terrorism.
UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2133 in January 2014, reaffirming its decision that all states should prevent and suppress any financing of terror groups. That resolution’s preamble calls on states to coordinate and assist the appropriate parties in kidnapping and hostage situations, and to get the private sector on board with anti-ransom policies.
Dr Al Qasim said Qatar can also be brought to justice before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for failing to comply with the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.
Dr Al Qasim said that five GCC members — Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman — can also suspend or cancel Qatar’s membership in the GCC with a unanimous decision.
Dr Ayman Salama, Professor of International Law, said Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt may file with the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee, demanding that Qatar along with 71 terrorist persons and entities be put on the UN Sanctions List, in view of the court rulings against a number of them from Egypt’s courts.
Dr Anwar Mohammad Gargash, Minister of State Foreign Affairs, hoped further steps against Qatar would not be necessary, but could not be ruled out.
“We hope that cooler heads will prevail, but if we have to, these are all entanglements that we have to deal with as the crisis develops,” Dr Gargash said.
Dr Gargash added there’s nothing to negotiate with Qatar over a growing diplomatic dispute about its funding of terror groups. “Qatar has chosen to ride the tiger of extremism and terrorism and now needs to pay the price.”
Egypt has asked the UN Security Council to investigate reports that Qatar “paid up to $1 billion to a terrorist group active in Iraq” to free 26 hostages including members of its royal family, which would violate UN sanctions.
Egypt’s deputy UN ambassador Ehab Moustafa told a council meeting Thursday that all 193 UN member states are obliged under sanctions resolutions “to prevent terrorists from directly or indirectly benefiting from ransom payments, or from political concessions.”
The Qataris were kidnapped on Dec. 16, 2015, from a desert camp for falcon hunters in southern Iraq.
Moustafa said if Qatar paid ransom to a group linked to Daesh militants, it would be “a clear support to terrorism” and would “definitely have a negative bearing on counterterrorism efforts on the ground.”
The Security Council Resolution 1904 followed in 2009, amending the sanctions regime, expressing concern about the increase in hostage-taking as a means of raising funds, and stressing the need for sanctions and other coordinated measures to combat terror groups.
Libya also said it plans to file a case against Qatar at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for its role in a series of assassinations in the country including killing of Major-General Abdul Fatah Younus and a bid on the life of Army chief Khalifa Haftar.
Libya was among the Arab countries that cut their diplomatic relations with Qatar earlier this week over its policies of supporting terrorism.
A similar action is planned by Abdul Rahim Ali, a member of Egypt’s parliament.
Ali, an analyst on radical Islamic movements and terrorism, said in a statement he was preparing a comprehensive file on Qatar’s crimes against humanity, as well as war crimes committed by the Qatari regime and its agents in Libya and Yemen.
“The file will include evidence that prove the treacherous role played by Qatar and its ruling family who have torn apart countries like Libya and Yemen. These are crimes against humanity and war crimes against Libyan and Yemeni citizens,” he said.
Ali added that over the last six years, Qatar has been financing and supporting specific terrorist groups such as, the International Organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic Fighting Group in Libya. The assistance they provide to these terrorist organisations include logistics and arms.
Qatar has long been accused of allowing terrorist financiers to operate within its borders. The country has been blamed as “the Club Med for Terrorists”. Qatar is also described as the “most two-faced nation in the world, backing the US-led coalition against the militants of the Daesh, while providing a permissive environment, in the words of one top American official, for terrorist financiers to operate with impunity.”
It has been a pillar for international designated terrorist groups, such as Daesh and Al Qaida-affiliate Al Nusra Front or, its successor organisation Jabhat Fateh Al Sham, to carry out deadly attacks against civilians in Syria.