US designates Burkina-Faso based group as a terrorist organisation

The US State Department has designated Burkina Faso-based group Ansarul Islam as a terrorist organisation. The group is said to have launched numerous attacks in northern Burkina Faso, including deadly attacks on police stations, a school director, and the country’s armed forces.

As a consequence of its inclusion on OFAC’s SDN List as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, Ansarul Islam is subject to a freeze on all of its assets within US jurisdiction, and US people and entities are prohibited from doing business with it.

The State Department’s press release is here, and the details of the listing are here.

EU updates entry for 1 person listed on ISIL & Al-Qaida sanctions

The EU has amended the entry for Djamel Lounici, who is listed on its sanctions against ISIL & Al-Qaida. The amended version states that he returned to Algeria from France, as opposed to Italy, and no longer states that he is the son in law of Othman Deramchi. Mr Deramchi was deleted from the EU’s sanctions list in July last year.

See Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/256 amending Council Regulation (EC) 881/2002.

UK Government on EU sanctions cooperation post Brexit

shutterstock_624878165The Prime Minister today (Saturday 17 February) gave a speech at the Munich Security Conference (text here), saying that the UK “will want to continue to work closely” with the EU on sanctions. “We will look to carry over all EU sanctions at the time of our departure. And we will all be stronger in the UK and EU have the means to co-operate on sanctions now and potentially to develop them again in the future.” As to “ensuring the Iranian nuclear deal is properly policed or standing up to Russia’s hostile actions, whether in Ukraine, the Western Balkans or in cyberspace… our success depends on a breadth of partnership that extends far beyond the institutional mechanisms for cooperation with the EU”.
The UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson MP also gave a speech on various aspects of Brexit last Wednesday, one of a series of speeches by cabinet ministers. He said that post Brexit “It would be illogical not to discuss such matters as sanctions together, bearing in mind that UK expertise provides more than half of all EU sanctions listings.” Link here (14 February 2018).

Canada sanctions Burma’s former military chief over Rohingya crisis

Canada3.jpgThe Canadian Government has imposed targeted sanctions (asset freeze) against Burma’s former Major-General Maung Maung Soe, pursuant to the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law), by amending the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Regulations.

Maung Maung Soe was sanctioned for being “responsible for, or complicit in, gross violations of internationally-recognized human rights against the Rohingya in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State” which “forced more than 688,000 Rohingya to flee their country”. Canadian press release here.

OFAC added Maung Maung Soe to its Global Magnitsky sanctions list on 21 December 2017 (see previous blog here).

Venezuelan oil company PDVSA replaces finance executive over US sanctions

Oil and gas.jpgVenezuela’s state-owned oil and natural gas company Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A (PDVSA) has replaced its Vice President of Finance, Simon Zerpa Delgado, reportedly over concerns that US sanctions on him had led to certain oil exports to the US being blocked. Mr Zerpa Delgado was sanctioned by OFAC on 26 July 2017, pursuant to Executive Order 13692, for his involvement in “Venezuelan Government corruption” (links to OFAC Notice and Treasury press release).

UK extends EU Venezuela sanctions to Overseas Territories

Parliament2The UK has passed the Venezuela (Sanctions) (Overseas Territories) Order 2018, SI 2018/179, which gives effect in specified Overseas Territories to the EU sanctions measures provided in Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/2074 and Council Regulation (EU) 2017/2063. Those include an arms embargo, framework to impose targeted measures against those responsible for human rights violations and/or undermining democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela (see previous blog here). The Order comes into force on 8 March 2018.

The Overseas Territories to which this Order extends: Anguilla; British Antarctic Territory; British Indian Ocean Territory; Cayman Islands; Falkland Islands; Montserrat; Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands; St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia in the Island of Cyprus; Turks and Caicos Islands; and Virgin Islands.

Cambodia sanctions Bill in US Senate

Senate2.jpgLast week, the Cambodia Accountability and Return on Investment Act of 2018 was introduced in the US Senate. The Bill makes provision for sanctions (US travel restrictions and asset freezes) to be imposed on “individuals involved in undermining democracy in Cambodia”, including senior officials of the Government of Cambodia (including the military, gendarmerie, police, and judiciary), officers and employees of entities owned or controlled by such officials, and immediate family members of those officials.

The Bill also requires the Secretary of the Treasury to “instruct the United States executive director to each international financial institution to use the voice and vote of the United States to oppose the extension by that institution of any loan or financial or technical assistance for the Government of Cambodia, other than to meet basic human needs”. The Bill has now been referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

EU renews Zimbabwe sanctions until 20 Feb. 2019

EU2The EU has extended its sanctions on Zimbabwe until 20 February 2019, see Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/224. This decision to keep sanctions in place was taken so that the situation in Zimbabwe (given the change in leadership in December 2017) could become clearer.

As a result, EU travel restrictions and asset freezes will continue to be imposed on 7 people (Robert Mugabe, Grace Mugabe, Happyton Bonyongwe, Augustine Chihuri, Constantine Chiwenga, Perence Shiri and Phillip Sibando) and 1 entity (Zimbabwe Defence Industries). However, those sanctions are currently suspended, except in relation to Robert Mugabe, Grace Mugabe and Zimbabwe Defence Industries. The EU Notice explains that they may submit a request to the EU Council to seek a reconsideration of their respective listings before 1 November 2018, and may challenge the Council’s decision to renew in the EU General Court.

The EU has also taken the opportunity to update Robert Mugabe’s listing so that it now states “Former President”, see Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/223. UK OFSI Notice here.