The EU Council has reviewed and decided to continue all of the listings under the EU’s autonomous counter-terrorism sanctions regime, which targets people and groups said to be involved in terrorism around the world, including Hamas, Hizballah, and FARC (the sanctions against FARC were suspended in September 2016, see previous blog). These sanctions are a separate regime from the regime targeting ISIL & Al-Qaida, which since 20 September last year has also allowed the EU to impose its own listings, whereas previously it could only implement UN or individual Member State listings (see previous blog).
See Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/150 implementing Regulation 2580/2001 and repealing Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/1127 and Decision 2017/154 updating Common Position 2001/931/CFSP and repealing Decision (CFSP) 2016/1136. The EU’s notices to listed people and entities are here and here. Listed people and entities may submit a request to the Council at any time that the decision to list them be reconsidered. In order for their requests to be considered at the next review, they should be submitted by 24 March 2017.
The EU Council has notified all people listed on the EU’s sanctions on people said to have misappropriated Egyptian state funds that the Council holds new information concerning them on file, and that they may submit a request to the Council before 17 February 2017 to obtain the information relating to them. A link to the notice is here.
President Trump is due to speak to President Putin today, in their first call since Trump took office. It is being reported that lifting US sanctions may be on the agenda. When asked whether the leaders would discuss lifting US sanctions on Russia, senior aide to Trump Kellyanne Conway said that “All of this is under consideration”. There have also been reports that a member of Mr Trump’s team has drafted an executive order to lift sanctions on Russia.
The EU has renewed its asset freezing measures on people “responsible for the misappropriation of Tunisian state funds” for a year, until 31 January 2018. Currently, there are 48 people listed on these sanctions, which were first introduced on 31 January 2011. It has also updated the information relating to 2 listed people, Sirine Ben Ali and Mohamed Mabrouk.
See Implementing Regulation 2017/149 implementing Regulation 101/2011 and Decision 2017/153 amending Decision 2011/72/CFSP. The EU’s notices to the listed people are here and here. They may submit a request to the Council before 31 October 2017, together with supporting information, that the decision to list them on the sanctions be reconsidered.
The General Court of the EU has dismissed the annulment application brought by Almaz-Antey, a Russian defence firm, which challenged its listing on the EU’s sanctions that target people and entities responsible for undermining the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Case T-255/15 Joint-Stock Company ‘Almaz-Antey’ Air and Space Defence Corp v Council . This is the 2nd judgment interpreting the EU’s targeted Russia sanctions (the 1st being Rotenberg – see previous blog).
The EU’s reasons given for including Almaz-Antey in July 2014 are that it is a state owned company that manufactures weapons for the Russian army, an army which provides heavy weaponry to Ukrainian separatists used for shooting down aircraft. The Court rejected the applicant’s challenge to the proportionality of the listing criterion, finding that the EU had legitimately amended the criteria to include people / entities “materially or financially supporting actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine”. And the Court held that it was legitimate to include the applicant on the basis of that criterion even though the evidence showed that it had not supplied weapons to Ukraine or for use there; it was enough that it was a state-owned company suppying weapons to the Russian army which itself supplies weapons to the separatists in Eastern Ukraine.
As is often the case, the Court rejected the applicant’s other arguments based on vague reasons, rights of defence and prorportionality, and ordered the applicant to pay the EU Council’s costs. There are interesting comments at paras 147-8 of the judgment about the Council’s use of press articles as evidence.
Maya Lester QC of this blog is speaking at these 2 sanctions events coming up in London, details on links below:
- 6th C5 Conference on International Dispute Resolution involving Russian and CIS Parties 26 – 27 January 2017 | “Update on Russia sanctions: What’s in the Pipeline” at 10:00 AM on 27 January.
- 3rd AML, Financial Crime, and Sanctions Forum | 31 January – 1 February 2017 | “Recent Legal Developments in International Sanctions” at 9:50am on 1 February.
Following a review of its nuclear sanctions on Iran and several judgments of the General Court and the Court of Justice annulling listings on those measures, the EU has confirmed that a number of entities no longer appear on the EU’s sanctions lists (see previous blogs here and here). They are:
- Moallem Insurance Company
- Petropars Operation & Management Company
- Petropars Resources Engineering Ltd
- Iran Aluminium Company
- Iran Liquefied Natural Gas Co.
- Hasseatic Trade Trust & Shipping (HTTS) GmbH
- Naser Bateni
- North Drilling Company
- Good Luck Shipping Company LLC
In addition, the EU has confirmed that it has deleted from its sanctions lists the following entities:
- Bank Saderat PLC (London) (see previous blogs on the EU deletion of Bank Saderat Iran)
- Neka Novin
- West Sun Trade GMBH
- Oil Industry Pension Fund Investment Company (OPIC)
See Regulation (EU) 2017/77 implementing Regulation 267/2012 and Decision 2017/83 amending Decision 2010/413/CFSP. HM Treasury’s notice is here.
At his last press conference as President, Barack Obama commented on US sanctions on Russia and their possible future under Donald Trump. Responding to Trump’s suggestion that he may lift sanctions on Russia in return for their cooperation on nuclear disarmament, President Obama noted that the sanctions had been imposed because of Russia’s actions in Ukraine and that it would not be in the US’s interests to link them to the separate issue of nuclear disarmament. He reiterated his position, which is also that of the other G7 nations (see previous blog), that they should be lifted only if Russia ends its actions in Ukraine. A link to the full press conference transcript is here.