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Homeland Security

Implementing anti-terrorism resolution hits obstacles, Security Council panel says

30 January 2004 ? The United Nations Security Council' s Counter-terrorism Committee (CTC) says the implementation of a resolution to monitor and try to increase the capability of States to fight terrorism "is encountering serious problems, both at the States and at the (committee) levels."

The committee, which has the same 15 members as the Council itself, says in a report issued today the crucial prevention and suppression of the financing of terrorism "has the effect of placing new burdens on banking institutions and financial professions."

Some States argue that passing anti-money laundering legislation is enough to prevent the financing of terrorism, but the transfers of terrorist funds "have different characteristics from other criminal funds (for example, they may have a legal origin)," the report says.

"Efforts to prevent the financing of terrorism are therefore undermined by the lack of transparency of international financial transactions and the weakness of national legislation to prevent inflows of criminal money."

Measures to improve State control over illegal or even informal financing systems should be considered as essential complements to the present banking regulations, the committee says.

On the links between organized crime and terrorist groups, the report says trafficking of drugs, weapons and contraband generated by organized crime often constitutes a source of financing for terrorists, "thus efforts to combat organized crime are a direct means of preventing terrorist phenomena" as pointed out in Resolution 1373, adopted in the wake of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.

On the work of the committee, the report says the panel sometimes need the service of international experts who are regarded as short-term consultants, but are then expected to work for longer than a year without being granted the medical and other "benefits that would make living in New York feasible, let alone compensate them for the disruption of their careers."

These financial restraints are part of the broader situation in which the CTC finds itself, with a need now for experts on weapons of mass destruction, small arms, self-portable air defence systems and general technical assistance, it says.

The present structure of the CTC makes it difficult to assess its costs and resources, preventing the CTC from accurately evaluating its performance. A complete budget would allow a certain degree of CTC accountability, it says.

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