First listings under EU’s Chemical Weapons sanctions regime

EU6Today (21 January), the EU added 9 individuals and 1 entity to its Chemical Weapons sanctions list (asset freeze and travel ban). These are the first listings to be made under the sanctions regime. See Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/86, Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/84, and EU Press Release.

Syria-based Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC) was sanctioned for the “development and production of chemical weapons”. The entity is already listed under the EU’s Syria sanctions regime.

The 9-listed people: Tariq Yasmina; Khaled Nasri; Walid Zughaib; Firas Ahmed; Said Said; Anatoliy Vladimirovich Chepiga; Alexander Yevgeniyevich Mishkin; Vladimir Stepanovich Alexseyev; and Igor Olegovich Kostyukov.

Mr Chepiga and Mr Mishkin (both Russian GRU officials), and Mr Kostyukov and Mr Alexseyev (the Head and First Deputy Head of the GRU, respectively), were sanctioned for being “responsible for [the] possession, transport and use in Salisbury (UK) of a toxic nerve agent” against Sergei and Yulia Skripal (March 2018). The other 5-listed people are “Syrian officials directly involved in the SSRC’s activities”.

UK extends EU Chemical Weapons sanctions to Overseas Territories

Parliament1The UK has passed the Chemical Weapons (Sanctions) (Overseas Territories) Order 2018, SI 2018/1361, which gives effect in specified Overseas Territories to the EU’s Chemical Weapons sanctions regime. The Order comes into force tomorrow (9 January 2019).

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.

Third countries align with recent EU sanctions

EU3Chemical Weapons: 

Last month, the EU adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1544, which established a new sanctions regime targeting the use and proliferation of chemical weapons (see previous blog). 

The following countries have aligned themselves with that Decision: Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Norway, and Georgia. See EU Press Release. 

Moldova, Rep of Guinea & Burundi:

Last month, the EU adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1610, Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1611, and Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1612, which extended for 1 year (respectively) the EU’s sanctions on Moldova, the Republic of Guinea, and Burundi (see previous blog).

The following countries have aligned themselves with all 3 Decisions: Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. 

Moldova and Armenia have aligned themselves with the Decisions concerning the Republic of Guinea and Burundi.

Georgia has aligned itself with the Decisions concerning Moldova and the Republic of Guinea.

Serbia has aligned itself with the Decision concerning the Republic of Guinea. See EU Press Releases: Moldova, Republic of Guinea, and Burundi.

UK calls for Skripal suspects to be included in EU chemical weapons sanctions

UK GovFollowing last month’s adoption of a new EU chemical weapons sanctions regime, the UK will ask for the first listings to include a number of individuals said to be involved in the Novichok poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, including the two Russian military intelligence officers Anatoliy Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin.

Commons Committee clears EU chemical weapons sanctions regime from scrutiny

Parliament2

The House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee has cleared from scrutiny the EU’s decision to adopt a new sanctions regime targeting the use and proliferation of chemical weapons (see previous blog). The Committee said:

  • After 29 March 2019, the UK will cease to be bound by the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) of which this new chemical weapons sanctions regime forms part;
  • The UK will lose its current veto over most new EU foreign policy measures and its current significant degree of influence over the general direction of the CFSP;
  • The EU would benefit from a close relationship with the UK in the field of foreign policy, especially in the field of sanctions (see the House of Lords EU Committee Report stating that the UK “currently plays a leading role in developing EU sanctions policy, is most active in proposing individuals and entities to be listed, and is home to the largest international financial centre of the bloc”);
  • In the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, day-to-day foreign policy cooperation – coordinated, for example, via the weekly meeting of the EU’s Political & Security Committee – would be severely disrupted from March 2019;
  • If the UK imposes sanctions under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 which the EU-27 does not, that is likely to reduce their overall effectiveness (the Lords’ Report notes that “while informal engagement with the EU on sanctions… can be very valuable, it is no substitute for the influence that can be exercised through formal inclusion in EU meetings”); and
  • The Committee will continue to monitor the discussions on the UK’s future relationship with the EU closely, as well as consider any proposals for listings under the new chemical weapons sanctions framework, or for parallel sanctions regimes for human rights abuses or cyber-attacks.

UK provides for new EU chemical weapons sanctions

Parliament1The UK has passed the Chemical Weapons (Asset-Freezing) and Miscellaneous Amendments Regulations 2018, SI 2018/1090, which comes into force on 7 November 2018.

The Regulations make provision for UK enforcement, licensing, penalties etc in respect of Council Regulation (EU) 2018/1542, the EU’s new chemical weapons sanctions regime (see previous blog).

New EU chemical weapons sanctions regime

EU6The EU announced today that it has adopted a new sanctions regime to “address the use and proliferation of chemical weapons”. As a result, the EU will now be able to impose an EU-wide travel ban and/or asset freeze on those “involved in the development and use of chemical weapons anywhere, regardless of their nationality and location”. See Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1544 and Council Regulation (EU) 2018/1542.

It is reported that Anatoliy Vladimirovich Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin – the two Russian military intelligence officers allegedly involved in the Novichok poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, UK – will be the first targets sanctioned under the new regime.