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Blacklist of terror groups gets Security Council OK

UNITED NATIONS – The Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution Friday paving the way for the creation of a global blacklist of groups considered to be terrorist organizations and a compensation fund for the families of their victims.

Russia introduced the measure after a series of attacks, including the siege of a school in Beslan and the destruction of two passenger planes, seeking international support against the Chechen groups that claimed responsibility and said they were fighting for self-determination.

Although the measure does not define terrorism or establish the global blacklist because of objections from Pakistan and Algeria, it creates a working group that is expected to draw up a list of organizations not already covered by sanctions against al Qaeda and the Taliban.

The working group also was asked to recommend more effective ways to curb terrorist activities, including prosecution and extradition, freezing of assets, banning travel and prohibiting arms sales. It will consider creating a compensation fund for families of victims, which could be financed by seized assets.

The resolution fell short of defining terrorism, a goal that has eluded the General Assembly and Security Council for years because what some states consider terrorism, others may regard as part of a liberation struggle.

However, it does state that intentional targeting of civilians for a cause is criminal and unjustifiable and exempts no group for political, religious or ideological reasons. The measure leaves the identification of terrorist suspects to the working group, which will refer to conventions against terrorism for its criteria.

The vagueness of the resolution, intended to help it win consensus, disturbed U.S. Ambassador John C. Danforth, who said that harming civilians is never justifiable, no matter what the root cause.

Some Islamic groups believe they are being targeted by the resolution, and human rights organizations say civil liberties are often ignored in crackdowns on suspected terror groups. Accelerated extradition can deprive suspects of due process, and suspects may face extended detention or even torture in the effort to curb terrorist activity, rights groups say.

The resolution’s demand that countries prosecute or extradite anyone who “supports” or “facilitates” the planning of terrorist attacks is too broad and can be abused, Amnesty International said. For example, someone who unknowingly provides lodging for a person who goes on to commit a violent attack could be arrested.