EU conclusions DPRK, S Sudan and Syria sanctions

eu-flag-1-commissionNorth Korea: The Council welcomed the latest round of UN sanctions on N Korea (see previous blog) and says it will consider new restrictive measures.

South Sudan: The Council states that it is ready to impose further autonomous restrictive measures on “any individual who obstructs the peace process, impedes UNMINSS in the performance of its mandate, prevents actors from exercising their humanitarian duties, incites ethnic hatred, or commits atrocities against civilians”.

Syria: The EU’s High Representative, Federica Mogherini, has said the EU intends to impose further restrictive measures targeting Syrian individuals and entities “supporting the regime” for as long as it continues to repress civilians and violate human rights.

US proposes new UN sanctions on South Sudan

The US has circulated a draft resolution to the UN Security Council, proposing an arms embargo on South Sudan and new targeted sanctions against those responsible for its violent conflict.  UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng recently reported to the Security Council that there was “a strong risk of violence escalating along ethnic lines with a potential for genocide”.

Both Russia and China have voiced opposition to the introduction of an arms embargo, which they believe would be ineffective in view of how many weapons are already in South Sudan, and further targeted sanctions.  In July 2015, the UN Security Council imposed a UN-wide asset freeze and travel ban on 6 rival commanders in South Sudan, and earlier this year extended those sanctions until 31 May 2017 (see previous blog).

EU declaration on South Sudan sanctions

The EU’s High Representative, Federica Mogherini, has issued a declaration on South Sudan following widespread violence in July this year.  The EU has reiterated its call on all parties to implement the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in good faith, and remains ready to impose sanctions on anyone undermining South Sudan’s peace process.  The declaration notes that the EU has long maintained an arms embargo on South Sudan, and supports the UN Security Council’s willingness to consider additional measures, including an arms embargo, should obstruction of the UN’s mission in South Sudan continue.

UN extends South Sudan sanctions

The UN Security Council has passed a resolution renewing its targeted sanctions against people responsible for or involved in actions that threaten the peace, security, or stability of South Sudan, until 31 May 2017.  The designation criteria include the leaders of any entity (including any government or opposition group), whose members have engaged in such actions.

In the new resolution, the Security Council welcomed the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity on 29 April 2016 as a “vital step” towards implementation of the UN-approved peace agreement for South Sudan, but expressed its deep concern that South Sudan’s leaders had not fully implemented their commitments under the agreement and were not fully adhering to a ceasefire.

UN extends South Sudan sanctions

The UN Security Council has voted unanimously to renew its targeted sanctions against people said to be blocking peace in war-afflicted South Sudan until 1 June 2016 (see Resolution 2280).  The sanctions impose a travel ban and asset freeze on listed people.

The Security Council also extended the mandate of the panel of experts overseeing the sanctions until 1 July, with the intention of reviewing the mandate and deciding by 1 June whether to renew it further.

UN SECURITY COUNCIL SANCTIONS 6 RIVAL COMMANDERS IN SOUTH SUDAN

The UN Security Council has imposed a UN-wide asset freeze and travel ban on six rival commanders from South Sudan, the first people to be listed by the UN for threatening the peace and stability of the world’s newest state (see blog on the creation of its sanctions committee here).  The listings of the 6 commanders were proposed by the US in late June, co-sponsored by the UK and France, and with no objections voiced by other members of the Security Council by yesterday’s deadline they have now come into force.

Government commander Major-General Chanuong Yol Mangok is accused of “the slaughter of Nuer civilians in and around Juba, many of whom were buried in mass graves”, and is joined by Lieutenant-General Jok Riak, and Major-General Santino Deng.  On the rebel side, Major-General Peter Gadet is said to have targeted “civilians, including women, in April 2014 during an assault on Bentiu, including targeted killings on the basis of ethnicity”.  He is joined by commanders Major-General Gatwech Dual, and Major-General Koang Chuol.

In listing the 6 people the UN has joined the US and EU, who have already imposed sanctions on rival commanders in the country (see previous blog).  Following the UN listings, OFAC has also added Lieutenant-General Jok Riak and Major-General Gatwech Dual to its list of Specially Designated Nationals, where they join the 4 other commanders who were listed previously (US Treasury press release here).

HM Treasury’s notice is here.

EU UPDATES CAR AND SOUTH SUDAN SANCTIONS REGIMES

The EU has updated its sanctions regimes on the Central African Republic and South Sudan in accordance with resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council earlier this year. Both regimes impose EU-wide targeted asset freezes and travel bans, in addition to a general arms embargo on the countries.

Central African Republic

UN Security Council Resolution 2196 (2015) extends the designation criteria for people and entities said to be involved in criminally or politically motivated violence in the Central African Republic, and the EU has updated its own measures accordingly. The new criteria now encompass entities owned or controlled by designated persons, and add “gold” to the list of example natural resources that may not be illicitly exploited to provide support for armed groups or criminal networks.

The new measures also mandate that Member States seize, register, and dispose of any items they discover whose sale, transfer, or export is prohibited under the sanctions regime, and update the international missions mentioned to include the UN’s Minusca.

The changes are set out in Council Regulation (EU) 2015/734 amending Council Regulation (EU) 224/2014 and Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/739 amending Council Decision 2013/798/CFSP. HM Treasury’s updated guidance on CAR financial sanctions is here.

South Sudan

By way of implementing UN Security Council Resolution 2206 (2015), the EU has also consolidated its existing measures imposing sanctions on South Sudan with the new ones set out in that resolution. The new measures extend the designation criteria under the sanctions regime to include people and entities designated by the UN Security Council or the UN Committee established by the new Resolution. The Resolution also sets out the new Committee’s own designation criteria, which includes, inter alia, actions or policies that have the purpose or effect of extending the conflict in South Sudan, that threaten transitional agreements or undermine the country’s political process, or violate applicable human rights.

In accordance with this, the new EU measures stipulate that the EU Council shall list any entity designated under the above in the relevant annex, and that the measures shall be renewed or amended if the Council deems that their objectives have not been met and in light of decisions taken by the Security Council.

The changes are set out in Council Regulation (EU) 2015/735 repealing Council Regulation 748/2014 and Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/740 repealing Council Decision 2014/449/CFSP.  HM Treasury’s updated guidance on South Sudan financial sanctions is here, and the UK Regulations are here.

UN SECURITY COUNCIL PASSES RESOLUTION CREATING SOUTH SUDAN SANCTIONS COMMITTEE

On 3 March 2015, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution establishing a sanctions regime against South Sudan.

The resolution creates a sanctions committee, comprising the 15 members of the Security Council, with the remit of targeting individuals suspected of committing human rights abuses or threatening the peace, security, or stability of the country.  The committee is also authorised to target anyone acting on behalf of a designated individual.

The resolution instructs all Member States, for an initial period of one year to:

  1. take necessary measures to prevent entry into or transit through their territories by designated individuals; and
  2. freeze all funds, financial assets, and economic resources within their territories owned or controlled by designated individuals.

Any travel bans and asset freezes imposed on people under the new sanctions regime would be subject to exemptions for necessary travel and expenses.  It will be the committee’s responsibility to consider any such exemptions.

Speaking on 3 March 2015, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said that in adopting this resolution the council was “enhancing IGAD’s leverage in the negotiations by sending a very clear signal to those who continue to choose war over peace – you will be held to account now as we urge you to compromise to reach an agreement and later when you are considering whether to follow through on its terms”.

A list of sanctions in force against South Sudan can be found in the “sanctions in force” section of this blog.