On 27 March 2014, the US State Department announced that it had blocked all exports of defence equipment and related services to Russia. On the same day, the US Commerce Department announced that it was suspending all licences that were not granted by 1 March 2014.
US companies need government approval to export goods that may be used for a military purpose. The State Department oversees licenses for military equipment, while the Commerce Department controls permits for commercial items that may also have a military application (“dual-use products”).
According to the Commerce Department’s annual report, $1.5 billion worth of dual use exports were licensed by the US to Russia last year, many used in the oil and gas industries.
The United National Sanctions Committee added Hani Yusef’s name to the list of people whose assets are frozen because they are said to be associated with Al Qaida, in 2005. A month later, the European Union added him to the EU terrorist asset freezing list in Regulation 881/2002.
In 2010 Mr Yusef won judicial review proceedings in England (in a case that went to the Supreme Court), declaring that the UK legislation designating him was unlawful (HMT v Ahmed & Youssef)  UKSC 2 & 5.
The General Court of the European Union has now held that the European Commission failed to fulfil its obligations and Mr Yusuf’s rights of defence in respect of his EU listing; Case T-306/10 Yusef v Commission (21 March 2014). The Commission’s principal errors were in failing to follow the procedures set down by the European Court in the Kadi cases (see previous blog). Instead of reviewing the reasons given by the Sanctions Committee carefully and impartially, the Commission had incorrectly continued to regard itself as being strictly bound by the findings of the Sanctions Committee. The Commission also failed to take into account the fact that the United Kingdom had made clear in 2009 that it no longer considered that there were grounds for listing Mr Yusef.
On 13 March 2014, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling on Member States of the European Union, and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs, to consider imposing targeted sanctions, such as travel and visa bans, on the key individuals responsible for drafting and adopting laws in Uganda and Nigeria criminalizing homosexuality.
The Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill was adopted by the Ugandan Parliament on 20 December 2013 and signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni Kaguta on 24 February 2014. It punishes “support” for homosexuality with 7 yearsʼ imprisonment and “repeat offenders” or HIV-positive offenders with life imprisonment. The Nigerian Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill was adopted by the Nigerian Senate on 17 December 2013 and signed into law in January 2014. It punishes those in same-sex relationships with 14-year prison sentences, and people witnessing same-sex marriages or operating or participating in LGBT bars, organisations or societies with up to 10 yearsʼ imprisonment.
We have reported on the imposition by the European Union and USA of targeted sanctions on Ukraine and Russia.
Canada has imposed similar measures. The Canadian Ukraine regulations impose asset freezes and travel bans on “persons for which the Governor in Council considers there are reasonable grounds to believe that they are engaged in activities that directly or indirectly facilitate, support, provide funding for, or contribute to the deployment of Russian armed forces to Crimea or to the seizing of control of Ukrainian government and military entities inside Crimea.” The Russia list includes people “for which the Governor in Council considers there are reasonable grounds to believe that they are connected with the Government of Russia, or that they are individuals or entities engaged in activities that directly or indirectly facilitate, support, provide funding for, or contribute to the deployment of Russian armed forces to Crimea in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The Canadian measures are here. Russia in turn has prohibited the entry into Russia of 13 Canadian officials.
The General Court of the European Union has recently handed down two judgments in cases brought by Syrian applicants seeking to annul their inclusion in the European Union’s sanctions (restrictive measures) relating to Syria. They are Joined Cases T-174/12 and T-80/13 Syrian Lebanese Commercial Bank SAL v Council and Case T-202/12 Bouchra Al Assad v Council.
In both cases, the Court has rejected the applicants’ requests for their listings to be annulled. In the Syrian Lebanese Commercial Bank case (4 February 2014), the Court held that the Council was justified in assessing that the applicant bank was associated with the Syrian regime, because the bank did not contest that it was 84.2% owned by the Commercial Bank of Syria or that that was a State owned bank. Bouchra Al Assad (12 March 2014) was included on the basis that she is associated and benefits from the Syrian regime, as the sister of the President and wife of the Deputy Chief of Staff. The Court held that the Council of the EU was entitled to presume that she benefitted from the regime, and that she had not rebutted this presumption.
These follow previous judgments on Syria sanctions in the Eyad Makhlouf and Issam Anbouba cases – see previous blog – in which the Court also rejected the applications for annulment.
The applicants have two months in which to appeal to the European Court of Justice. Links to the current EU sanctions against Syria are on the blog here.
We reported yesterday that the EU has just renewed its Egypt and Iran sanctions. It has done the same for the Bosnia / Herzegovina regime.
The Decision, published today, renews until 22 March 2015 Decision 2011/173, which imposes restrictive measures (asset freezes on travel bans) on people “whose activities undermine the sovereignty, territorial integrity, constitutional order and international personality of Bosnia and Herzegovina, seriously threaten the security situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina or undermine the Dayton/Paris General Framework Agreement for Peace and the Annexes thereto.”
The European Union has decided to renew its sanctions (restrictive measures) relating to Iran and to Egypt.
The Council of the EU has published a notice on 15 March 2014 informing people and companies listed in Regulation 267/2012 and another notice for those listed on Regulation 359/2011 that measures against them continue to apply, and that they may submit a request to reconsider that decision before 15 April 2014.
The Council of the EU has also just published a new Decision extending its sanctions relating to Egypt until 22 March 2015, and a notice for those listed in Council Regulation (EU) No 270/2011 informing them that they may submit a request to the Council for reconsideration before 30 January 2015.
The Iran and Egypt sanctions are on the ‘sanctions in force’ section of this blog.
As we reported earlier today, the EU has added 12 people to its list of individuals subject to an EU asset freeze and travel ban.
The Council of the EU has just published the new Decision and Regulation which list the 12 people who have been added to the annexes of Decision 2014/145/CFSP and Regulation 269/2014. Those EU measures had previously listed 21 people, so the total number of Russians now subject to EU sanctions is 33.
The list of 12 people added today is: Dmitry Rogozin, Sergey Glazyev, Valentina Matviyenko, Sergei Naryshkin, Dmitry Kiselyov, Alexander Nosatov, Valery Kulikov, Vladislav Surkov, Mikhail Malyshev, Valery Medvedev, Lt Ge Igor Turchenyuk, and Elena Borisovna Mizulina. Those individuals may make observations to the Council of the EU on their designations, and have two months in which to challenge them in the General Court of European Union in Luxembourg. The Council has published a Notice informing listed people how to make observations on their listing and how to challenge designations in the European court.