'Terrorists' lists: monitoring proscription, designation and asset freezing

Why monitor the terrorist lists?

The 'Terrorist' List website was launched in June 2005 by Statewatch in association with the Campaign Against Criminalising Communities and the Human Rights and Social Justice Institute, London Metropolitan University, to monitor the largely secret development of the policy of "proscribing" groups and individuals connected with "terrorism" (see press release).

It provides detailed information and analysis of the "terrorist lists" operated by:

  • the United Kingdom, which introduced proscription in 1974 for organisations in Northern Ireland, extending it to foreign organisations in 2000;

  • the United States, which introduced the proscription of foreign terrorists groups in 1995;

  • the United Nations, which introduced proscription as part of the Taleban sanctions regime - freezing the assets of suspected associates - and then extended it in the aftermath of "September 11";

  • and the European Union, which, after incorporating the UN sanctions into EU law, introduced its own "terrorist" list.

  • see: current lists

Proscription, or "designation", takes various forms and its legal effect differs according to the jurisdiction, varying from complete bans for "terrorist" groups that criminalise their members and supporters, to the freezing of assets of individuals suspected of supporting terrorism. Groups and individuals are added to the "terrorist" lists on the basis of "intelligence" alone. The normal judicial process governing such serious accusations, and their prosecution, has been discarded. The UK and US governments are obliged to "consult" with parliament and congress respectively, though such consultation has been brief; the executive bodies of the UN (Security Council) and EU (Council) agree their lists on the basis of intelligence provided by their member states without any parliamentary scrutiny. These lists and the related sanctions are binding on all member states....read more