Edited by Federico Fabbrini and Vicki C. Jackson
Chapter 4: Heroic or hapless? The legal reform of counter-terrorism financial sanctions regimes in the European Union
The descriptions, ‘heroic or hapless’, might be ascribed to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267 targeted sanctions system in two potential senses. One sense concerns the effectiveness of the entire system. The ambitious attacks on September 11, 2001, consumed substantial funds – up to $500,000 in travel and accommodation expenses. However, the 7 July 2005 London bombers left a small financial footprint, which seems to have become the common pattern for post-9/11 self-organising and self-sustaining jihadi groups. In response to the tiny and unremarkable financial movements of such terrorists within globalised networks, the efforts of the UN, alongside bodies such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), have been depicted as futile: ‘trying to starve the terrorists of money is like trying to catch one kind of fish by draining the ocean’. Doubts about impact raise further questions about the persistence of these international initiatives and their powerful national backers. A critical analysis might assert that the true purpose is more accursed by serving only hegemonic and neo-colonialist purposes. In this way, terrorism is alleged to be a trigger and excuse for shaping international monetary rules and regulations in ways which suit the interests of Western financial institutional interests. The second intractable source of criticism has been the debate about whether attempts to ameliorate the impact of the UNSCR 1267 scheme on individual rights have been ‘heroic or hapless’. It is this aspect of UNSCR 1267 which will be the point of this chapter and not the issue of effectiveness.
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