On 2 October 2020, the EU Council announced restrictive measures against 40 Belarussian individuals identified as responsible for repression and intimidation against peaceful demonstrators and journalists in the wake of the country’s 2020 presidential election, as well as for misconduct of the electoral process. The measures are published in Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2020/1388 (CSFP 1388).
The decision to impose sanctions follows the European Council conclusions of 1 October 2020, in which EU leaders condemned the unacceptable violence by Belarusian authorities against peaceful protesters, as well as intimidation, arbitrary arrests and detentions following the presidential elections, the results of which the EU does not recognise.
The decision follows weeks of tense negotiations at member state level following the reported exercise by Cyprus of its veto, owing to the situation involving Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean. Interestingly the EU Council could not agree on sanctioning President Lukashenko and instead have focussed on high-level officials within the regime. The restrictive measures under CFSP 1388 include a travel ban and an asset freeze against the listed individuals. The travel ban impedes the listed people from entering or transiting through EU territories, while the asset freeze is used against the funds or economic resources of the listed persons. In addition, EU citizens and companies are forbidden from making funds available to those listed.
As a clear sign of the impact of Brexit taking root, the UK went one step further than the EU by sanctioning President Lukashenko under the new listing arrangements set up by the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 and the Global Human Rights Regulation 2020, the move was coordinated with a similar response from Canada.
The UK Overseas Territories including the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Anguilla are now subject to legislation mirroring the UK position following the passing of the Global Human Rights (Overseas Territories) Order 2020.
European Council’s press release can be found here.
A copy of CFSP 1388 is here.
The updated UK Sanctions List (which also applies in the Overseas Territories) is here.