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.

US Treasury statement on RUSAL sanctions

Steven MnuchinLast month (19 December), the US Treasury notified Congress of its intention to terminate, in 30 days, the sanctions imposed on En+ Group, RUSAL, and JSC EuroSibEnergo (see previous blog).

Yesterday (10 January), US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin issued a statement in advance of a bipartisan, classified briefing for members of the House of Representatives on the matter. Mr Mnuchin confirmed that “Oleg Deripaska will remain sanctioned, his property and interests remain blocked, and any companies he controls are also sanctioned”, and that “[u]nder CAATSA, any person who knowingly facilitates a significant transaction for or on behalf of Deripaska faces secondary sanctions”.

Furthermore, that En+ Group, RUSAL, and JSC EuroSibEnergo were “designated for sanctions solely because they were majority-owned or controlled by Deripaska. These entities are undergoing significant restructuring and governance changes that sever Deripaska’s control and significantly diminish his ownership. They have committed to provide Treasury with an unprecedented level of transparency into their dealings to ensure that Deripaska does not reassert control. As a result, these entities will no longer be designated for sanctions.”

EU implements first UN-Mali listings

EU3Last month, the UN Security Council added 3 individuals to its Mali sanctions list: Ahmoudou Ag Asriw, Mahamadou Ag Rhissa, and Mohamed Ousmane Ag Mohamedoune (travel bans only). They were the first designations to be made under the UN’s Mali sanctions (see previous blog).

Today (10 January), the EU implemented these listings to its Mali sanctions list, see Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2019/29. As a result, they will now be subject to EU-wide travel bans only.

OFAC licence applications not being processed during US Government shutdown

OFAC2OFAC has announced that due to the current US Federal Government shutdown (which began on 22 December 2018), no licence applications will be processed during this time. Applications may be submitted upon the re-opening of the Federal Government, when they will start to be processed again.

EU adds 3 Iranian persons to terrorism sanctions list over foiled European attacks

EU2Today (9 January), the EU added 2 Iranian individuals, Assadollah Asadi and Saeid Hashemi Moghadam, and the Directorate for Internal Security of the Iranian Ministry for Intelligence and Security to its terrorism sanctions list (measures set down in Common Position 2001/931/CFSP). The listings were made in response to “recent foiled attacks on the European soil” (see previous blog). As a result, they will now be subject to EU asset freezes. The EU also renewed all the other listings under this sanctions regime. See Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/25, Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/24, and EU Press Release.