US Russia chemical/biological weapons sanctions come into force

US-Russia3.jpgEarlier this month, the US Department of State determined under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 that “the Russian government ha[d] used chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law or ha[d] used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals” (previous blog).

This week, on 27 August 2018, a Notice was published in the US Federal Register bringing mandatory sanctions under the Act into force against Russia. They will remain in place for at least 1 year, and consist of:

(1)   Arms Sales: Termination of (a) sales to Russia under the Arms Export Control Act of any defence articles, defence services, or design and construction services, and (b) licenses for the export to Russia of any item on the US Munitions List. This sanction has been waived in relation to the issuance of licenses in support of government space cooperation and commercial space launches (such licenses to be issued on a case-by-case basis).

(2)   Arms Sales Financing: Termination of all foreign military financing for Russia under the Arms Export Control Act.

(3)   Denial of US Government Credit or Other Financial Assistance: Denial to Russia of any credit, credit guarantees, or other financial assistance by any department, agency, or instrumentality of the US Government, including the Export-Import Bank of the US.

(4)   Exports of National Security-Sensitive Goods and Technology: Prohibition on the export to Russia of any goods or technology on that part of the control list established under section 2404(c)(1) of the Appendix to Title 50. There are a number of waivers relating to this sanction, including the areas of flight safety (civil fixed-wing passenger aviation), space flight, and commercial end-users (civil end-uses in Russia).

The fifth mandatory sanction under the Act, namely, termination of foreign assistance to Russia under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (except for urgent humanitarian assistance and food or other agricultural commodities or products), has been waived in its entirety.

UN renews Mali sanctions for 1 year

UN2.jpgYesterday, the UN Security Council renewed its Mali sanctions (asset freezes and travel bans) until 31 August 2019, by adopting UNSC Resolution 2432 (2018). However, there are no individuals or entities currently designated by the UN Mali Sanctions Committee. See UN press release.

UN & EU remove ‘Taji Industrial Complex’ from Iraq sanctions list

UN5Yesterday, the UN Security Council removed Taji Industrial Complex from its Iraq sanctions list. As a result, the entity will no longer be subject to UN asset freezing measures. UN press release here.

On 7 September 2018, the EU implemented this UN delisting, see Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1218.

Initial ICJ hearing in Iran’s sanctions case against USA

ICJWe reported last month that Iran has brought proceedings against the USA in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague over the 8 May US decision to withdraw from the JCPOA and reimpose sanctions on Iran. See Iran’s application and ICJ press release. Iran’s claim is that the US reimposition of sanctions violates the Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights (1955) between Iran and the USA.

The Court is currently hearing Iran’s request for provisional measures to prevent further damage pending the hearing of Iran’s main claim. Timetable of hearings here. In response, the US Department of State announced that “Iran’s filing with the ICJ is an attempt to interfere with the sovereign rights of the United States to take lawful actions, including re-imposition of sanctions, which are necessary to protect our national security. The proceedings instituted by Iran are a misuse of the Court”, and that the US “will vigorously defend against Iran’s meritless claims this week in The Hague”.

UN, US & EU add 3 people to ISIL & Al-Qaida sanctions list

UN4The UN Security Council has added 3 people to its ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida sanctions list. As a result, Mohammed Yusip Karim, Mohamad Rafi Bin Udin, and Muhammed Reza Lahaman Kiram will now be subject to a UN asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo. See UN press release here.

The US implemented these UN sanctions on 24 August 2018, see OFAC Notice and US Treasury press release.

The EU implemented them on 27 August 2018, see Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1204.

UK publishes ‘no deal’ Brexit guidance on exporting controlled goods

UK Gov.jpg

The UK government has published a Technical Notice informing stakeholders on how export controls will be affected in the event that the UK leaves the EU with ‘no deal’. It explains (inter alia):

  • How export licensing requirements for different groups of items would change;
  • What the UK government would do to simplify licensing; and
  • Where exporters of military and dual-use items, civilian firearms, and other goods can find relevant information.

The Notice states that a ‘no deal’ situation “remains unlikely given the mutual interests of the UK and the EU in securing a negotiated outcome”, but that it is the duty of a responsible government “to prepare for all eventualities, including ‘no deal’, until [it] can be certain of the outcome of those negotiations”.

OFAC targets Russians circumventing US sanctions & Russian shipping companies violating N.Korea sanctions

US Treasury Building2Today, OFAC has sanctioned 2 entities (Russia-based Vela-Marine Ltd and Slovakia-based Lacno S.R.O.) and 2 Russian individuals (Marina Igorevna Tsareva and Anton Aleksandrovich Nagibin) for attempting to “circumvent U.S. sanctions”. They were designated pursuant to Executive Order 13694 (as amended) based on the actions they undertook for Divetechnoservices, a Russian entity sanctioned in June 2018, for procuring a variety of underwater equipment and diving systems for Russian government agencies, including the Federal Security Service (also a US-designated entity). See OFAC Notice and Treasury press release.

OFAC has also sanctioned 2 Russian entities and 6 Russia-flagged vessels for being linked or “involved in the ship-to-ship transfer of refined petroleum products with North Korea-flagged vessels, an activity expressly prohibited by the UN Security Council”. Russian entities Primorye Maritime Logistics Co Ltd and Gudzon Shipping Co LLC, and Russia-flagged vessels BELLA, BOGATYR, NEPTUN, PARTIZAN, PATRIOT and SEVASTOPOL have been designated pursuant to Executive Order 13810. See OFAC Notice and Treasury press release.

UK asks EU to match US sanctions on Russia

Jeremy Hunt.jpgThe UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said the UK will ask the EU to strengthen sanctions on Russia in order to stand “shoulder to shoulder with the US”. The US recently increased its sanctions on Russia pursuant to the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (previous blog). Mr Hunt said he wished to “match” US Russia sanctions without necessarily imposing exactly the same measures. He will address the United States Institute of Peace, Washington USA, later today – live webcast here.