SIPRI’s Hugh Griffiths continues to contribute to the New York-based United Nations Panel of Experts monitoring sanctions on North Korea. In 2016, the Panel uncovered an unprecedented number of investigations into arms and military equipment smuggling, missile launches and procurement, financial and maritime sanctions. Its findings are disclosed in the 2017 Final Report of the United Nations Panel monitoring sanctions on North Korea.
Griffiths was lead investigator in a number of aviation, arms, designated entity, insurance and sanctions evasion cases for 2016. The 2017 Final Report was significant in that it had more investigations, more cases of non-compliance and sanction evasion than any previous Panel or Group of Experts final report across the UN sanctions regime since the first publication of such reports began, back in 2000 when Swedish diplomat Ambassador Anders Möllander chaired the first Panel of Experts that reported on UN sanctions on UNITA rebels in Angola and their role in the illicit diamond trade.
‘What makes things particularly interesting is the now unique nature of UN sanctions on North Korea which have undergone a step change in 2016,’ said Griffiths. ‘The introduction of two new, ever more detailed, Security Council resolutions makes the UN sanctions regime on North Korea the most comprehensive targeted sanctions regime in the history of UN sanctions.’
The 2017 Final Report was widely covered in global media, both before, during and after its official release. More than 1000 articles were published, making it the most widely covered of all UN Panel reports for all the UN sanctions regimes that cover countries such as Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Libya, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen.
SIPRI’s Griffiths, who is on leave from his position as Head of SIPRI’s Countering Illicit Trafficking – Mechanism Assessment Projects (CIT-MAP), is Coordinator of the Panel. This means that he was in charge of putting the most recent report together, setting deadlines, working with the lead authors of sections, chairing discussions and meetings, aiming to get consensus on the wording of the report from the entire Panel.
‘The 2017 Final Report makes clear, to some extent, the scope of North Korean sanctions evasion in the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific,’ said Griffiths. ‘It is extremely interesting to be working at the centre of a sanctions regime that has tremendous potential as a multilateral instrument as part of a wider toolbox for resolving one of the most pressing global security issues confronting the world in 2017.’
Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed SIPRI Senior Researcher Hugh Griffiths to the UN Panel of Experts monitoring UN sanctions on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK, North Korea), starting 1 June, 2014.
The UN's New York-based Panel of Experts was established pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1874 (2009), and subsequently followed up by Resolution 2276 (2016) and is composed of nationals from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) as well as Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK, South Korea) and South Africa.