EU KEEPS RUSSIA SANCTIONS IN PLACE

On 30 September 2014, the EU decided to keep in place the sanctions currently in force against Russia over its support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

A meeting was held to discuss the implementation of the ceasefire between Kiev and Russian-backed separatists, at which it was decided that sanctions will stay in place in view of the ongoing situation in Ukraine.

Any decision taken in the future to ease the sanctions regime in force against Russia would require the unanimous support of all 28 EU Member States.

Our blog on the latest round of sanctions against Russia can be found here. A list of all sanctions currently in force against Russia can be found on the sanctions in force section of this blog.

 

US DESIGNATES 12 FOREIGN TERRORIST FIGHTER FACILITATORS

On 24 September 2014, the US Treasury Department named 11 individuals and one entity as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs), pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224.

The targets listed are accused of having worked with a range of terrorist organisations – the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), al Nusrah Front, al-Qaida and its affiliates, and Jemaah Islamiya – to send financial and material support and foreign terrorist fighters to Syria and elsewhere.

The action is aimed to complement the United Nations Security Council’s adoption of a resolution focused on preventing and disrupting the financial activities of foreign terrorist fighters and thwarting their efforts to travel across border, as we reported previously on this blog.

“Today’s broadly scoped designations will disrupt efforts by ISIL, al Nusrah Front, al-Qaida, and Jemaah Islamiya to raise, transport, and access funds that facilitate foreign terrorist fighters,” said David S. Cohen, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. “These steps, taken the same day as the adoption of a new United Nations Security Council Resolution, affirm the commitment of the United States and our partners to degrade and destroy terrorist access to financing.”

The following two individuals have been designated for acting for or on behalf of ISIL: Tarkhan Tayumurazovich Batirashvili; Tariq Bin-Al-Tahar Bin Al Falih Al-‘Awni Al-Harzi; ‘Abd al-Aziz Aday Zimin al-Fadhil; Ashraf Muhammad Yusuf ‘Uthman ‘Abd al-Salam; ‘Abd al-Malik Muhammad Yusuf ‘Uthman ‘Abd al-Salam (AKA Umar al-Qatari); Fatih Hasar; Hamad Awad Dahi Sarhan al-Shammari; Ibrahim ‘Isa Hajji Muhammad al-Bakr; Bambang Sukirno; Angga Dimas Pershada; and Wiji Joko Santoso. The Hilal Ahmar Society Indonesia has also been listed.

 

 

EUROPEAN COURT ANNULS LIBYA SANCTIONS ON COLONEL GADDAFI’S COUSIN FOR BEING OUT OF DATE

195px-european_court_of_justice_insignia-svgThe General Court of the EU in Case T-348/13 Ahmed Mohammed Al Kadhaf Dam v Council (24 September 2014) has annulled the inclusion of Mr Al Kadhaf Dam on the EU’s restrictive measures relating to Libya – judgment here (available only in French so far).   Those sanctions, in force since 2011, target (among others) people involved in serious human rights abuses against Libyans. The EU’s sanctions in force concerning Libya are on the ‘sanctions in force’ section of this blog.

Mr Al Kadhaf Dam was included in March 2011 for being a cousin of Colonel Gaddafi, and for participating in planning operations against Libyan dissidents and organizing an army unit around Colonel Gaddafi. He was re-listed in April 2013 for the same reason. The Court held that since that re-listing decision was taking after the civil war in Libya and overthrow of the Gaddafi regime, and after the applicant’s resignation from that regime, the Council had not given an adequate justification for maintaining his designation in 2013.

UN CALLS FOR FOREIGN TERRORIST FIGHTERS TO BE DESIGNATED

In an unusual session of the United Nations Security Council attended by heads of state, all 15 member states have voted for a resolution on “foreign terrorist fighters”.  The resolution states that the UN’s member states must “prevent and suppress the recruiting, organising, transporting or equipping of individuals” who travel to another country to take part in terrorist acts or training. States must also “prevent the movement of terrorists or terrorist groups” through their territory “by effective border controls and controls on issuance of identity papers and travel documents”.

The resolution notes that foreign terrorist fighters and those who finance or otherwise facilitate their travel and subsequent activities may be eligible for inclusion on the Al-Qaida Sanctions List maintained by the Sanctions Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) where they participate in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of, Al- Qaida, supplying, selling or transferring arms and related materiel to, or recruiting for, or otherwise supporting acts or activities of Al-Qaida or any cell, affiliate, splinter group or derivative thereof.  It calls upon States to propose such foreign terrorist fighters and those who facilitate or finance their travel and subsequent activities for possible designation.

2 NEW BELARUS EU SANCTIONS JUDGMENTS: 1 WINS, 1 LOSES

The General Court of the European Union (1st Chamber) has handed down 2 judgments in actions for annulment brought by people on the EU’s restrictive measures against Belarus: Case T-646/11 Ipatau v Council and Joined Cases T-196/11 and T-542/12 Mikhalchanka v Council (both judgments, only published so far in French, dated 23 September 2014).

Both individuals said that the Council of the EU had breached their rights of defence, the duty to give reasons, had committed a manifest error of assessment, and infringed the principle of proportionality.  The Court rejected all of the arguments of Mr Ipatau, who was listed as being the vice-chairman of the Central Electoral Commission.  The Council was entitled to regard him as being jointly responsible for violations of international standards in the presidential election of 19 December 2010, given his position.

Mr Mikhalchanka won his case on one ground (the others were rejected, some as being inadmissible and others as unfounded) on the grounds of a manifest error of assessment.  He had been included for being an influential television journalist. Although the Court said that the Council was entitled to take into account the one sided nature of media reports in Belarus on the 2010 presidential elections, there was no evidence that this was the case as regards the applicant’s television programme or that he was responsible for violations of electoral standards and the crackdown on opposition on Belarus (on which the EU’s sanctions are based).  However, Mr Mikhalchanka remains listed; his challenges to his subsequent inclusion on the EU sanctions list were inadmissible.

JAPAN ANNOUNCES NEW RUSSIAN SANCTIONS

On 24 September 2014, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced increased economic sanctions on Russia. The new measures will restrict the export of military technology to Russia, as well as ban five Russian banks from acquiring securities on the Japanese market. The banks in question are Sberbank, VTB Bank, Vnesheconombank, Gazprombank and Rosselkhozbank.

These new measures represent a third round of sanctions against Russia by Japan. Japan has thus far been more cautious in its sanctions than the US or the EU, however Suga stated the country’s intention to bring its actions against Russia more in line with other G7 members.

UK FOREIGN & COMMONWEALTH OFFICE REPORT ON SANCTIONS LITIGATION

The Legal Directorate of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has published its annual report today on its achievements in 2013-2014 and priorities for next year.  The Directorate advises the FCO on legal policy and provides litigation services in UK and international courts.

The following are the comments from its International Institutions and Security Policy Team on its sanctions work.

In addition to advising on the development and implementation of UN and EU sanctions regimes and drafting 14 Orders in Council implementing sanctions in the UK’s Overseas Territories, the FCO notes the “increased volume of litigation on sanctions at EU and domestic level”.  “Defending UN and EU sanctions regimes in the domestic and EU courts” is listed as a priority.  The report states that “analysing how to respond to the European Court of Justice’s Kadi II judgement has been a significant area of work.”  The FCO has, according to the report, “continued to implement new ‘smarter sanctions’ procedures for analysing the impact of sanctions and the robustness of sanctions designations across all sanctions regimes and worked with policy colleagues to ensure that new listings proposals, including those involving non-disclosable information, gain full support at UN and EU level.”

UN ADDS 16 TO AL-QAIDA SANCTIONS LIST

On 23 September 2014, the UN Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee listed additional names of those involved with the Islamic State group and other bodies associated with Al-Qaida, pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 2170 (2014). The following 14 individuals and 2 entities were listed:

A. Individuals associated with Al-Qaida

  1. Ahmed Abdullah Saleh al-Khazmari al-Zahrani
  2. Azzam Abdullah Zureik al-Maulid al-Subhi
  3. Anders Cameroon Ostensvig Dale
  4. Ibrahim Suleiman Hamad al-Hablain
  5. Seifallah ben Hassine
  6. Abd al-Rahman bin ‘Umayr al-Nu’aymi
  7. Abd al-Rahman Khalaf ‘Ubayd Juday’ al-‘Anizi
  8. Anas Hasan Khattab
  9. Maysar Ali Musa Abdallah al-Juburi
  10. Shafi Sultan Mohammed al-Ajmi
  11. Abd al-Rahman Muhammad Mustafa al-Qaduli
  12. Emilie Konig
  13. Kevin Guiavarch
  14. Oumar Diaby

 B. Entities and other groups associated with Al-Qaida

  1. Ansar Al-Shari’a in Tunisia (AAS-T)
  2. Abdallah Azzam Brigades (AAB)

These additions coincide with President Obama’s call to co-ordinate an international response to fight Islamic State militants, and include of Abd al-Rahman Muhammad Mustafa al-Qaduli, listed as a senior Islamic State group official. All individuals listed are subject to targeted financial sanctions, a travel ban and the arms embargo as set out in paragraph 1 of Security Council Resolution 2161 (2014).