US House of Reps back RUSAL sanctions

US-RussiaWe reported last month that the US Treasury had notified Congress of its intention to terminate the sanctions imposed on En+ Group, RUSAL, and JSC EuroSibEnergo, after (inter alia) corporate governance changes, including reducing Oleg Deripaska’s shareholding to below 50%.

Yesterday (17 January 2019), a Joint Resolution passed the US House of Representatives (362 to 58 votes) expressing disapproval of the Treasury’s intention to terminate the sanctions, but a Joint Resolution was not approved in the Republican-led Senate earlier this week (16 January). As a result, the Treasury is expected to continue with lifting the sanctions.

UK passes Sanctions (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019

Parliament3The UK has passed the Sanctions (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, SI 2019/26, which make amendments to a number of EU sanctions regimes to ensure (inter alia) that they continue to apply within the UK after Brexit. The Regulations will come into force on exit day.

Venezuela brings WTO complaint against US sanctions

WTOVenezuela has initiated WTO dispute consultations with the US, claiming that certain US laws and regulations relating to goods of Venezuelan origin, the liquidity of Venezuelan public debt, transactions in Venezuelan digital currency, and the SDN List are inconsistent with the WTO’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994 and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). After 60 days, if the consultations have failed to resolve the dispute, Venezuela may request adjudication by a panel. See WTO Press Release.

UN & EU delist 3 entities from Iraq sanctions

UN2Last week (8 January), the UN Security Council removed 3 entities from its Iraq sanctions list: General Establishment for Designs and Research, State Enterprise for Aluminum Semi Products, and State Enterprise for Cables and Wires. As a result, they will no longer be subject to UN asset freezes. See UN Press Release.

The EU implemented these sanctions de-listings today (14 January), see Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/51.

UN Sanctions Best Practices Guide

UN5Australia, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden have come together to create a Best Practices Guide for Chairs and Members of UN Sanctions Committees.

The Guide (inter alia) outlines the roles and interrelationship of key sanctions actors (e.g. UN Security Council); describes the standard practices by which Chairs and Members of Sanctions Committees operate; provides a list of sanctions currently in force, including a description of the types of sanctions, how they work, and the compliance obligation standards that apply; and outlines the activities and endeavours by sanctions committees that enhance effective sanctions implementation, such as thematic sanctions, designations and due process, and sanctions and human rights.

The Guide in its present form will be subject to further consultations and refinements when the project enters its second phase, during which a Best Practices Guide for UN sanctions monitoring expert groups and their coordinators will be developed.

EU Court upholds Hamas’ terrorist sanctions listings

CJEU1In July 2017, the European Court of Justice allowed the EU Council’s appeal against the General Court’s judgment annulling the terrorist sanctions designation of Hamas (see previous blog). The Court held that the General Court was wrong to have decided that in considering whether a re-listing remained justified on the basis of ongoing terrorist risk, the EU had to decide only on the basis of material that had been assessed by the national authorities. The Court then referred the case back to the General Court because that court had only ruled on 2 of the grounds of appeal when it annulled Hamas’ sanctions listings.

The General Court has now given its judgment – see T-400/10 RENV (14 December 2018). It dismissed all the remaining grounds of appeal, upholding the July 2010 – July 2014 listings of Hamas.