Switzerland has joined the EU in imposing asset freezes and travel bans on 14 associates of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s president Joseph Kabila. They were added to the EU’s sanctions over the course of 2016 and 2017.
President Kabila was due to stand down as President at the end of 2016, under a constitutional two-term limit. However, he has remained in power amidst growing concerns about human rights abuses against the civilian population. The newly listed people include incumbent and former ministers, provincial governors, and high-ranking members of the Congolese armed forces. They are accused of hindering the conduct of elections through acts of violence and repression, violating the rule of law, and committing serious human rights abuses.
The Swiss government’s press release is here.
In response to a written Parliamentary Question, HM Treasury has said that from 23 July 2005 until 30 September 2016, it froze approximately £580,000 of funds in the UK pursuant to the EU’s Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) sanctions regime (Council Decision 2010/788/CFSP (as amended) and Council Regulation (EC) 1183/2005 (as amended)). Between those dates, 38 people and 9 entities were subject to EU asset freezing measures. The figures for 2017 have yet to be finalised.
Implementing a decision of the UN Security Council (previous blog here), the EU has added 4 people to its Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) sanctions list, see Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2018/202 and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/197.
The individuals are Muhindo Akili Mundos, General in the DRC’s armed forces, Gédéon Kyungu Mutanga Wa Bafunkwa Kanonga, Katangan rebel leader, Guidon Shimiray Mwissa, founder of the NDC-R armed group, and Lucien Nzambamwita, military leader of the FDLR armed group.
The EU Notice explains that these individuals may submit a request to the UN’s Focal Point for a reconsideration of their respective UN designations and may challenge the EU’s decision to implement the UN designations in the EU General Court. The US implemented these designations last week (previous blog here). UK OFSI Notice here.
OFAC has sanctioned 4 people who it says have been involved in human rights abuses “including sexual abuse and forced military recruitment of children” in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This action implements a UN Security Council decision to sanction them on 2 February (see previous blog).
The people are Muhindo Akili Mundos, General in the DRC’s armed forces, Gédéon Kyungu Mutanga, commander of the Bakata Katanga militia, Guidon Shimiray Mwissa, founder of the Nduma Defence of Congo-Renové armed group, and Lucien Nzabamwita, military leader of the FDLR armed group.
OFAC’s press release is here, and the details of the listings are here.
The UN Security Council has added 4 people to its Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) sanctions list for “engaging in or providing support for acts that undermine the peace, stability or security of the DRC” (asset freezes and travel bans imposed).
One of the designated individuals, Muhindo Akili Mundos, is listed as the “DRC Armed Forces (FARDC) General, Commander of the 31st Brigade” and “FARDC Brigadier General”. Another individual, Gédéon Kyungu Mutanga Wa Bafunkwa Kanonga, is listed as the “Katangan rebel leader”. UN press release here and UK OFSI Notice here.
The EU has announced that the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EFTA countries Iceland and Liechtenstein, members of the European Economic Area, as well as the Republic of Moldova and Armenia have aligned themselves with Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/2282. That Council Decision extended sanctions against the Democratic Republic of the Congo until 12 December 2018 for the country’s “obstruction of electoral processes and related human rights violations” (see previous blog here).
The EU has renewed its sanctions against the Democratic Republic of the Congo until 12 December 2018. The sanctions target 16 individuals and consist of an asset freeze as well as a ban on entering the EU, see Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/2282.
The EU Notice explains that the affected individuals may submit a request to the Council of the European Union for a reconsideration of their designation, and may challenge the Council’s decision in the EU General Court. EU press release here.
The General Court of the EU dismissed a case brought by a gold export company Uganda Commercial Impex Ltd to annul its inclusion on the EU’s sanctions on the Democratic Republic of Congo. Judgment here Cases T-107/15 and T-347/15 Uganda Commercial Impex Ltd v Council .
The EU sanctioned Uganda Commercial Impex because the UN Sanctions Committee had said (since 2007) that (inter alia) it “bought gold through a regular commercial relationship with traders in the DRC tightly linked to militias. This constitutes ‘provision of assistance’ to illegal armed groups in breach of the arms embargo”.
The Court said the EU institutions had discharged their duty properly in implementing this UN listing. In particular, the court said listing was justified by the UN panel of expert reports on which it was based (and dismissed grounds for annulment based on the duty give reasons, proportionality and rights of defence). The applicant’s evidence refuting the panel of experts’ report was declared inadmissible because it had not been submitted with the EU court application and because the witness statement was given by one of the company’s directors who therefore has “a direct personal interest in the outcome of the present proceedings” (the Court has taken this approach to witness statements in a few recent sanctions cases).