Definition of sanctions
Sanctions are restrictive measures on trade adopted by the UN and the EU against countries and/or individual persons, groups, legal entities, bodies, etc. The extent of the trade restrictions varies, but restrictions most often encompass a weapons embargo, entry ban and imposition of freezing of funds and economic resources. In some cases, sanctions also involve a ban on import and export of other products than weapons.
Reasons for imposing sanctions
The UN Security Council adopts resolutions on sanctions, and the EU passes regulations on sanctions where a country or a person persistently violates international conventions and agreements, for instance human rights. A country may become subject to sanctions if the country is involved in a war or civil war, including breaches of ceasefire agreements.
Freezing of assets
Freezing of assets is defined as restrictions on free access by designated individuals or entities to any funds and economic resources owned or controlled by physical or legal persons, groups or entities appearing in the annexes to the EU regulations. All funds and economic resources must be frozen. No financial funds or economic resources may be made available to designated persons or entities. Neither may financial services be supplied to designated persons or entities.
Sanctions against terrorism
As a response to the terrorist attacks in the USA on 11 September 2001, the EU passed a number of legislative initiatives relating to terrorism. In connection with this, the EU passed legislative acts relating to terrorism in general and also specifically directed against Al-Qaida and Afghanistan. The sanctions involve, among other things, requirement for freezing of funds and economic resources.
The EU database on designees subject to freezing
The EU has established a database of all designated persons, groups, legal entities, bodies etc. subject to EU provisions of freezing of assets. The EU Commission keeps the database up to date on a running basis.
Adoption of sanctions
Procedures for adoption of sanctions
Sanctions are often initiated through the adoption of a UN resolution, typically against a country that violates international agreements. On the basis of this resolution, the EU then adopts a Council Decision, which reflects the contents of the resolution. The Council Decision is implemented in a Council Regulation, which applies directly as legislation governing all citizens, groups and legal entities in the EU. If elements of a UN resolution are not implemented in a Council Regulation the elements omitted will be enforced through the administration of authorities. This applies, for instance, to arms embargoes.
The EU may also itself choose to issue sanctions apart from the UN, the so-called autonomous sanctions, against a country. This also takes place in the shape of a Council Decision and subsequent a Council Regulation. This is, for instance, the case with the sanctions against Syria.
Violations of sanctions
Penalty for violation of sanctions
Violation of the EU regulations on sanctions adopted with reference to Articles 60, 301 and 308 of the EC Treaty may be liable to punishment pursuant to Section 110 c of the Criminal Code. Due to the Lisbon Treaty, which entered into force on 1 December 2009, the articles in the EC Treaty have been replaced by Article 215 of the Lisbon Treaty. Violation of that Article may also be liable to punishment pursuant to Section 110 c of the Criminal Code.
Section 110 c of the Criminal Code
- Any person who, intentionally or through negligence, contravenes any provisions or prohibitions that may have been provided by law for the protection of state defence or neutrality shall be liable to a fine or to imprisonment for any term not exceeding four months or, in aggravating circumstances, to imprisonment for any term not exceeding three years
- Any person who, intentionally or through negligence, contravenes any provisions or prohibitions that may have been provided by law for the fulfilment of the state's obligations as a member of the United Nations shall be liable to a fine or to imprisonment for any term not exceeding four months or, in aggravating circumstances, to imprisonment for any term not exceeding four years.
- Any person who contravenes provisions provided by or issued pursuant to regulations passed on the authority of Articles 60, 301 or 308 of the Treaty Establishing the European Community or Article 215 or 352 of the Treaty Establishing the European Community, and which aims to interrupt or curtail the financial or economic links with one or more countries outside the European Union or similar sanctions against individuals, groups or legal persons shall be liable to the same punishment as provided in Subsection 2.
- Where a crime as specified in Subsections 1, 2 or 3 has been committed through negligence, the offender shall be liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.
Criminal Code Section 114 b
In cases involving intentional assistance relating to funding of terrorism, this will furthermore be encompassed by the special provisions thereon in Section 114 b of the Criminal Code.
To an increasing degree, the EU applies the implementation of restrictive measures against third countries, including financial sanctions. After the terrorist attacks on the USA on 11 September 2001, the international community introduced restrictive measures against terrorism, with growing focus on the consequences of, in particular, the financial sanctions against terrorism.
The objective of this set of guidelines is to provide guidance, relating to restrictive financial measures, for enterprises, individuals and authorities in Denmark. The guidelines aim primarily to assist the individuals, enterprises and authorities that implement freezing of funds and economic resources, as well as the individuals and enterprises subject to the imposition of freezing.
The Guidelines describes the obligations and rights that proceed from imposition of freezing. The Guidelines endeavours to provide a step-by-step description of the measures that implementing and being subject to imposition of freezing are obligated or permitted to take.