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After Complaint, Sweden Says It Can't Make Prosecutors Shut "Terrorist" Site

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 11 -- When Russia's Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin in a May 10 Security Council session called out Sweden for failing to close down the web site of Caucuses Emirate, saying this violated UNSC Resolution 1989, Inner City Press wrote about it and asked the Swedish government for its response. A day later, it has arrived, and it published in full below.

  At issue is Operative Paragraph 6 of Resolution 1989, which

"Confirms that the requirements in paragraph 1 (a) above apply to financial and economic resources of every kind, including but not limited to those used for the provision of Internet hosting or related services, used for the support of Al-Qaida and other individuals, groups, undertakings or entities associated with it."

  While Inner City Press believes, with others, that freedom of expression issues may be raised by making illegal the "provision of Internet hosting services," for the UN and its member states, that train has left the station. Under Resolution 1989, adopted in 2011, and its cited Paragraph 1(a), UN member states must

"ensure that neither these nor any other funds, financial assets or economic resources are made available, directly or indirectly for such persons’ benefit, by their nationals or by persons within their territory."

Despite this, the 1989 Committee states, on its own website, that

"The Kavkazcenter has been proclaimed the official information organ of the Emarat Kavkaz by Doku Umarov. Publications on the website are in Russian, English, Arabic, Turkish and Ukrainian... The principal internet provider of the website is located in Stockholm, Sweden.. The website has regularly published videos in which Doku Umarov and the heads of the Emarat Kavkaz have taken personal responsibility for terrorist acts carried out on the territory of Russia including the one at the Domodedovo airport (Moscow) on 24 January 2011."

  So what how does Sweden respond? With a day's delay, and after Inner City Press also tweeted the question at Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt, the First Secretary (Legal) of the Swedish Mission to the UN sent this to Inner City Press:

As to the first issue regarding the website, the Swedish Government's comments are the following.

Once the Security Council decides on sanctions, Member States are obliged, under international law, to implement these measures and incorporate the provisions in their own legal systems. For Sweden, this is done jointly with the other EU countries. Accordingly, Sweden has fully implemented UN Security Council Resolution 1989, including the listing of the organisation ”Emarat Kavkaz”, through the EU Council Regulation (EC) No 881/2002, which is directly applicable in Swedish national law.

Violations of an EU regulation on sanctions are punishable by Swedish law, i.e. the Act on Certain International Sanctions (1996:95). Swedish police, prosecutors and courts conduct investigations, press charges and issue verdicts independently from the Government. The Government cannot influence an authority or a court concerning a decision on how to apply Swedish law. It is up to the competent Swedish authorities to look into the issues of possible sanctions crime related to the listing of 'Emarat Kavkaz.'

As to the second question, it is, as you mention a CTED visit under resolution 1373. There are no visits foreseen by the 1267/1989 Committee or the Monitoring Group.

  The "second question" referred to was

"I have learned that along with a CTED visit to Sweden in June, an expert of the 1989 Committee may go as well. What will Sweden say to them?"

  Along with arguing that the Swedish "Government cannot influence an authority or a court concerning a decision on how to apply Swedish law," the response says "there are no visits foreseen by the 1267/1989 Committee or the Monitoring Group."

  But Inner City Press understands that, at the request of Russia, an Al Qaeda / Resolution 1989 expert is slated to now accompany the previously scheduled CTED visit to Sweden in June. And what will come of it?

  Inner City Press view is that if Sweden thinks the ban on providing web hosting violates free speech, it should say so, as should have members of the Council.

  But silent non-compliance with resolutions -- just as Inner City Press discovered on May 10 that five Security Council members never even filed reports under Libya sanctions -- is the opposite of the rule of law. Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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