01 Jul UN Ombudsperson Kimberly Prost to Leave Post in July
Kimberly Prost, the current UN Ombudsperson, will be leaving her post in mid-July when her term expires. However, no replacement has been appointed, nor has the UN implemented a transition plan for her eventual successor. The issue of what will happen to the current cases before the office, or to individuals who are unlucky enough to apply for delisting after July 14 is significant. It highlights the fragility of this important institution at the UN, and suggests that not all member states wish it to function effectively.
Despite the considerable progress the UN has made in developing the institution of the Ombudsperson, which addresses review and delisting requests for individuals on the Al Qaida sanctions regime, it has become apparent that the institution may soon be synonymous with its first occupant: Ms. Prost. The institution has not been streamlined into the UN system, and despite its important work, her status has been that of a consultant. While some UN Member States initiated demarches to try to have her term extended, they were unsuccessful. It is unclear what the future will hold for the institution now that she is departing, which is significant rule of law problem.
The issue was extensively discussed at a recent conference on UN Sanctions at Leiden University in the Netherlands. The program is available under the committee documents tab here. In addition to the fragility of this institution, its exclusivity was discussed in detail. The Ombudsperson’s Office has jurisdiction to review and delist individuals on the Al Qaida sanctions lists, but individuals and entities on the 15 other sanctions lists do not have access to this process. Instead, they may request a review from the Focal Point, which has a far less developed procedure and does not have the characteristics of an independent institution. A number of countries have argued that the Ombudsperson’s jurisdiction should be extended to other regimes, although politically, it is clear that that if that happens, it would be the various sanctions regimes involving situations in Africa that would benefit, but not in the short or medium term, those involving WMD sanctions. Information on the focal point is available here. A helpful overview of the differences between the Focal Point and Ombudsperson and links to other documents is available here.