Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
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#5 - JRL 7029
January 22, 2003
Kasyanov bans Hezbollah in Russia
By Maria Tsvetkova

Russia will soon have its own blacklist of organizations involved in terrorist activities. Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov has signed the governments resolution setting out the guidelines of making such a list and the work is due to start immediately.

Strictly speaking, the Financial Monitoring Committee, tasked with making the list over the next few months, will be engaged in purely technical work. The committees press secretary Natalya Konovalova told Gazeta.Ru on Tuesday that the committee would be gathering information from the Justice Ministry, the Prosecutor Generals Office, the Interior Ministry as well as international organizations and then would compile them all in a single index. The principles of the indexs structure are defined in a special resolution, approved by the government and signed by Prime Minister Kasyanov on Tuesday.

The first category of persons and organizations to be included in the list are those recognized by the courts as guilty of terrorist activities. The second category includes those whose activities are suspended by the Prosecutor Generals Office because they are suspected of ties with extremists and those persons against whom criminal cases have been instigated for crimes connected with terrorism. ''It is not yet known whether the list will be long or short, but it is absolutely certain that it will hold several dozen entries,'' the press secretary said.

However, the list of organizations and private individuals involved in extremist activities will not be made public, Viktor Zubkov, head of the FMC and deputy finance minister, told Interfax. ''The list will be closed. We will obtain materials from the courts, other establishments, law enforcement agencies and from international organizations,'' Zubkov said. ''This list will be stored in the FMC database. As soon as signals of terrorism or extremism appear, we will look over this list and see whether these people or organizations are on it,'' he said. In addition, the FMC will send copies of this list to organizations that carry out monetary or property transactions.

All the anti-terrorist measures that could be applied to the list members are actually applicable at the moment. In accordance with Russian law, any bank or other financial institution can block a suspicious financial operation for a two-day period and the Financial Monitoring Committee can block it for a further five days. As the blacklist appears, these terms are not set to change. ''In total, this makes seven working days. In this period of time we must transfer the information to the law enforcement bodies,'' Konovalova said. ''This time is enough to undertake some actions.''

The list will only include those international terrorist organizations listed in the international documents of a similar kind, recognized by the Russian authorities. One such document is the blacklist approved by the European Unions Security Council. It includes extremist organizations of the Irish and Basque separatists as well as pro-Palestinian Middle East groups like Hezbollah and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. The Russian blacklist must also reflect those of other countries if there are bilateral agreements on the subject.

Whether or not the Russian list will be accepted at the International level depends, of course, on its content. If, for example, the Russian Prosecutor General insists on including in the list Chechen emissary Akhmed Zakayev, who faces charges of terrorism in Russia, it is not likely that Great Britain would block the accounts of Vanessa Redgrave, who is currently providing her personal friend with accommodation, money for bail and moral support.

On the other hand, Zakayev will surely be among the first people included in the blacklist of Russias prosecutors. This suggests that the Russian list is likely to remain a document for internal use only, which provides nothing but additional convenience. All in all, it seems every state taking part in the fight against international terrorism must have a blacklist of some sort; it would be considered bad form not to.

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