Sanctions by the United Nations and the European Union
Sanctions have become an important tool for maintaining and restoring international peace and security. By fully participating in the implementation of sanctions, Finland wishes to strengthen the international system that serves the preservation of international peace and security. Sanctions policies and measures must be constantly developed to make them more effective and to ensure the legal protection of persons and groups subject to them.
The United Nations Security Council may impose economic and other sanctions to maintain international peace and security. The competence of the Security Council to impose sanctions is provided for in Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.
The European Union may impose sanctions in accordance with the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy, as set out in Article 11 of the Treaty on European Union, and the principles of the United Nations Charter. The Council of the European Union may decide to impose autonomous EU sanctions in support of efforts to fight terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and as a restrictive measure to uphold respect for human rights, democracy, the rule of law and good governance.
Decisions concerning the UN sanctions are made by the Security Council. Resolutions on sanctions adopted by the Security Council are binding upon all UN Member States which are responsible for their implementation.
In the European Union, decisions to impose sanctions are adopted by the Council as Common Positions and Regulations. Council Regulations are binding in their entirety and directly applicable in all EU Member States.
At the moment, the EU's sanctions instruments target more than ten States. The majority of the EU's sanctions instruments concern the implementation of the sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council. In addition, the EU has imposed autonomous sanctions, which are not based on any UN sanctions.
In Finland, sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council and the EU are implemented by virtue of the Act on the Enforcement of Certain Obligations of Finland as a Member of the United Nations and of the European Union (Sanctions Act N:o 659/1967, as amended by Act N:o 824/1990, 705/1997, 191/2000, 882/2001 and 364/2002). After the entry into force of new EU sanctions, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs publishes a notification in the Statute Book of Finland (Sanctions Act, Section 2a) informing of the entry into force of the sanctions regulation and the penalty provisions applicable in the case of violation of the sanctions.
Penalties for violating EU's sanctions regulations are prescribed in the Penal Code, Sections 1-3 of Chapter 46 concerning regulation offences. Penalties range from a fine to imprisonment. In the case of an aggravated regulation offence, the maximum penalty is four years of imprisonment.
Export in breach of UN and EU arms embargoes is punishable under the Act on the Export and Transit of Defence Material (242/1990). An export offence is prescribed in Section 7 of the Act, according to which penalties may vary from a fine to a maximum of four years of imprisonment.
During the recent years comprehensive trade embargos on certain countries have been lifted and States have resorted to the use of targeted sanctions directed against certain individuals and entities. Today, sanctions in force consist most generally of financial sanctions, travel restrictions and arms embargoes.
Sanctions may be targeted against members of the government of certain country. In some cases, sanctions may also imposed on individuals or groups, which are not directly linked to the regime of any country. For example, the EU's counter-terrorist sanctions are imposed against persons, groups and entities involved in terrorist acts and listed by the EU Council. All listed persons, groups and entities have to fulfil the criteria for listing laid down in the Council Common Position 2001/931/CFSP. Furthermore, United Nations Security Council and its Sanctions Committee are responsible for designating the persons, groups and entities associated with Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaida and the Taliban.
Financial sanctions are directed against listed persons and entities, whose funds and economic resources have to be frozen. In addition, it is prohibited to make available funds or economic resources, to, or for the benefit of, a listed person or entity.
Travel restrictions also target listed persons. States shall take the necessary measures to prevent the entry into, or transit through, their territories of the designated persons.
Other types of restrictive measures may also be applied depending on each case. For instance, such measures could include import or export bans on certain goods, flight bans or suspension of official visits to third countries.
In Finland, the competent authorities responsible for the implementation of sanctions are the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence.
Addresses of the competent authorities:
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
P.O. Box 416, OIK-10, FI-00023 Government
Tel: +358 9 1605 5733 or 1605 5726
Fax: +358 9 1605 5707
Ministry of Defence (arms export bans)
Eteläinen Makasiinikatu 8
P.O. Box 31
Tel: +358 9 1608 8128
Fax: +358 9 1608 8111