Earlier this week, the Iraqi Parliament voted to lift sanctions against 4 banks in the Kurdistan region (Kurdistan International Bank (KIB), RT Bank, Cihan Bank, and Erbil Bank). Sanctions had been imposed in relation to the region’s September 2017 independence referendum, and consisted of restrictions (by the Central Bank of Iraq) on dollar and foreign currency transfers and sales to the Kurdish-owned banks. In approving the move, Iraqi politicians have stated that the sanctions “had fulfilled [their] objective” by enforcing federal control over the Kurdish banking system. It will now fall to the Iraqi Government to enact the decision.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that his country is considering imposing sanctions on Kurdish northern Iraq in response to the regional administration’s plans for an independence referendum. Although Turkey has a significant trading relationship with the region, it says that it is opposed to its independence on the basis that it may lead to new conflict in the Middle East. Turkey’s government is expected to make a formal response to the situation on Friday.
The EU has de-listed Iraq-based entities Medical City Establishment and State Company for Drugs and Medical Appliances from its sanctions on Iraq. The changes implement a UN decision to de-list them at the end of last year.
The EU has de-listed 19 entities from its sanctions on Iraq, which freeze the assets of the previous Government of Iraq, and related people and entities, if those assets were located outside Iraq on 22 May 2003. This implements a UN decision to de-list the entities from UN sanctions on 16 September 2016. The UN and EU de-listed 5 other entities earlier this month (see previous blogs here and here).
The EU has de-listed South Refineries Company from its sanctions relating to Iraq, which freeze the assets of the previous Government of Iraq, and related people and entities, if those assets were located outside of Iraq on 22 May 2003. The update implements a UN decision to de-list South Refineries Company from its own sanctions on 6 September.
The EU has de-listed 4 entities that were subject to asset freezes under its sanctions on Iraq, implementing a UN decision to remove them from its own sanctions last month. The remaining sanctions freeze the assets of the previous Government of Iraq, as well as related people and entities, if those assets were located outside of Iraq on 22 May 2003. The de-listed entities are:
- Iraqi Airways Company
- Directorate-General of Governorate Electricity Distribution
- Electronic Industrial Company
- Light Industries Company
The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has handed down its judgment in Al-Dulimi and Montana Mangement Inc. v Switzerland ECHR 219 , finding in favour of the applicants who argued that Switzerland’s decision to impose an asset freeze on them violated their right to a fair hearing.
The asset freezes were imposed by Switzerland pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1483, which targeted the former Iraqi regime. The Court found that, before imposing sanctions on the applicants, the Swiss authorities had a duty to ensure that the listings were not arbitrary. Further, whereas when the applicants challenged the sanctions the Swiss Federal Court merely verified that the applicant’s names appeared on the UN’s sanctions lists, the Court found that the applicants should have been given “at least a genuine opportunity to submit appropriate evidence to a court, for examination on the merits, to seek to show that their inclusion on the lists had been arbitrary”. Consequently, the Court found that “the very essence of their right of access to a court had been impaired”.
In addition, the Court noted that the UN sanctions system, in particular the procedures for listing people and entities and handling de-listing requests, had received “very serious, reiterated, and consistent criticisms”. Significantly, it found that access to the UN’s de-listing procedure could not therefore “replace appropriate judicial scrutiny at the level of the respondent State, or even partly compensate for its absence”.