Midterm report of the Panel of Experts on Mali (S/2021/151)

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I. Background

Mandate, travel and cooperation

  1. In its resolution 2541 (2020), the Security Council decided to renew until 31 August 2021 the measures set out in paragraphs 1 to 7 of its resolution 2374 (2017). The sanctions regime established by resolution 2374 (2017) consists of a travel ban and an asset freeze that apply to individuals and/or entities designated by the Committee as being responsible for or complicit in, or having engaged in, directly or indirectly, actions or policies that threaten the peace, security or stability of Mali. In its resolution 2541 (2020), the Council requested the Secretary-General to re-establish the Panel of Experts and extended its mandate, as set out in paragraphs 11 to 15 of resolution 2374 (2017), until 30 September 2021.

  2. During the reporting period, the Panel worked under particularly challenging conditions, compounded by political turmoil in Mali and the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The coup d’état in August 2020 led to a total change in the Malian political leadership. Subsequently, it was of utmost importance to the Panel to visit the country and engage with the transitional authorities. However, since 6 October 2020, the date of appointment of its members, the Panel has not been able to travel, whether to Mali or elsewhere.

  3. Travel to several European capitals planned for October did not happen, owing to the late appointment of the Panel by the Secretary-General. Travel to Mali was initially planned for 26 October to 8 November, then postponed to 16 to 27 November, and then again rescheduled for 30 November to 12 December, because of complex travel arrangements that could not be processed in time.

  4. The mission planned for December was eventually abandoned because of a lastminute increase in the mandatory quarantine period from 7 to 14 days, in accordance with information provided by the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to the Panel on 23 November. The Panel requested that MINUSMA reconsider its last-minute change, highlighting that, without a change to the quarantine period, the Panel would be prevented from implementing its mandate from the Security Council. MINUSMA refused to revert to a 7-day quarantine or to exempt the Panel from its self-imposed measure, despite precedents of quarantine requirements being waived for New York-based United Nations officials who travelled to Mali in October and November 2020.

  5. As a result of the travel constraints mentioned above, the Panel is not able to submit to the Committee a midterm report in line with the Panel’s established standards, with detailed findings in each expert’s area of expertise. Instead, the Panel is submitting a scaled-down report, providing an update on the implementation of sanctions and highlighting the main political and security developments pertaining to the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali and its signatory parties, as well as sanctioned individuals and those singled out in the Panel’s previous reports, at both the national and regional levels.