A new unpublished UN report is said to have found that North Korea is using a network of front companies to “[flout] sanctions through trade in prohibited goods, with evasion techniques that are increasing in scale, scope, and sophistication”. The report also criticises Member States for lacking the “political will” to back up the tougher sanctions on North Korea that were introduced last year (see previous blog), failing to commit the resources necessary for their effective implementation.
Russia and China have vetoed a draft UN resolution put forward by the US, UK, and France that would have prohibited the sale of helicopters to Syria and sanctioned 11 Syrian commanders or officials and 10 entities linked to chemical weapon attacks in the country (see previous blog). Russian President Vladimir Putin described the draft resolution as “totally inappropriate”, and China said that while it opposed the use of chemical weapons it was too early to act as the international investigation into the attacks was ongoing. It is the 7th time Russia has vetoed a UN resolution on Syria, and the 6th time for China.
The ongoing High Level Review of UN Sanctions (HLR) has asked for contributions in February 2017 from the private sector and state representatives in particular on the following proposals relating to benefits and costs of UN sanctions on businesses:
- Companies worldwide require clear and practical information about the objectives of UN sanctions.
- High implementation costs and non-transparent implementation requirements can impose high compliance costs on private sector actors.
- More technical guidance is needed from the UN with respect to steps companies should take to be compliant with all UN sanctions regimes.
- Companies require industry-specific, and geographically relevant information about commonly observed evasion strategies, and other deceptive means with which sanctions violators often implicate innocent private sector actors.
- Companies need to know about unfair competitive advantages and corrupt practices by sanctions violators and be protected against related costs and challenges from competitors operating from jurisdictions that tend to tolerate sanctions violations.
The high level review is open to observations on other concerns too, relating to UN sanctions. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for a briefing paper and information on ways to make contributions.
Britain and France are reported to be suggesting a UN Security Council resolution to prohibit countries from supplying the Syrian government with helicopters, and to impose targeted sanctions on 11 Syrian individuals and 10 entities said to be involved in chemical weapons attacks in Syria. A draft resolution prepared by Britain and France follows a joint investigation by the UN and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which concluded that the Syrian government was responsible for at least 3 attacks involving chlorine gas. Russia has repeatedly questioned the investigation’s conclusions.
As foreshadowed earlier this week (see previous blog), the UN Security Council has now imposed new sanctions on North Korea (DPRK) in response to its nuclear test on 9 September 2016.
The new measures, contained in Resolution 2321, impose an annual cap on North Korean coal exports, reducing their volume by around 60%. They also prohibit North Korean exports of copper, nickel, silver, zinc, and statues, and impose asset freezes and travel bans on 11 people and 10 entities for alleged ties to North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. They also require Member States to limit North Korean diplomatic missions to one bank account each, in an effort to prevent North Korea from using them for illicit activities.
The 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council are meeting to approve new sanctions on North Korea, aimed at substantially cutting its revenue from exports. Reports suggest that the new resolution could cut North Korea’s export revenue of $3bn by at least $800m, by capping exports of coal, helicopters, vessels, and statues. The new sanctions, if confirmed, will also impose asset freezes and travel bans on 11 people and 10 entities for alleged roles in North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.
China, a major importer of North Korean coal, is said to support the new sanctions, but Russia is not yet reported to have given them its backing.
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).
Please come to a panel discussion on ‘challenging United Nations targeted sanctions before domestic courts’ hosted by the Arab Legal Forum at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, 26-28 Tudor Street, London, EC4Y 0BQ, on Thursday 6 October 2016 at 6pm. The panel will examine the judgment of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Al Dulimi and Montana Management Inc v Switzerland (see previous blog) and its impact on the rights of individuals and entities to challenge sanctions.
Maya Lester QC (of this blog) will be speaking, along with Judge Kimberly Prost (former Ombudsperson for the UNSC Al Qaida Sanctions Committee) and Antonios Tzanakopoulos (Associate Professor in Public International Law, St Anne’s College, Oxford). Details and registration here.