With restrictive measures or sanctions, the international community wishes to stop, in a peaceful manner, countries or individuals from being a threat to international peace or security.
What are restrictive measures?
Restrictive measures or sanctions, as they are also called, are measures by which the international community tries to achieve that certain states and/or other entities (persons) presenting a threat to international peace and security change their conduct without the use of force so that their behaviour no longer threatens international peace and security. According to Restrictive Measures Introduced or Implemented by the Republic of Slovenia in Accordance with Legal Acts and Decisions Adopted within International Organisations Act (in Slovene) (ZOUPAMO), used in Slovenia to systemically regulate this area, restrictive measures mean restrictions and obligations in relations with states, territorial entities, movements, international organisations and persons. Their purpose is to establish or maintain international peace and security, ensure the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms, develop or strengthen democracy and the rule of law, and achieve other objectives in accordance with international law and the EU law.
Restrictive measures may be adopted by the UN Security Council, the European Union and individual countries. In accordance with the UN Charter, the Security Council adopts restrictive measures through resolutions that are binding on all UN member states. Besides applying UN sanctions, the EU may also adopt sanctions by means of decisions or regulations that need to be respected in the national legislation of the EU Member States. In accordance with the national act on restrictive measures, Slovenia may also adopt national restrictive measures. These are adopted by Government decrees.
What are the types of restrictive measures?
The most frequently implemented are financial restrictive measures, which include the freezing of funds in accounts or any dealing with funds and economic resources; restrictions on arms import and export are also common, and so-called travel restrictions, for instance a ban on the entry of specific persons into a country and their transit through its territory. In the past, it was more common to impose general sanctions against countries. In recent years, targeted sanctions or smart sanctions against individuals are more widespread because they are seen as a more effective way to achieve the objectives pursued.
Who is subject to restrictive measures?
Restrictive measures may be imposed against countries, international organisations, other entities, and legal and natural persons (i.e. companies, heads of state, high officials and others). Who is subject to sanctions is specified in sanctions lists contained in the relevant legal acts imposing sanctions.
In Slovenia, restrictive measures are governed by the ZOUPAMO, which includes the following basic provisions:
In accordance with the resolutions of the UN Security Council and to ensure greater efficiency in implementing sanctions against persons included in sanctions lists, Article 3(4) of the ZOUPAMO stipulates that when the UN Security Council adds new persons to the list of those subject to the freezing of funds and economic resources in accordance with EU regulations, these EU regulations apply in relation to those persons as of the date the list is updated on the UNSC website until the entry into force of the amendments of the annexes to EU regulations.
In accordance with the Article mentioned above, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) is required to publish the above-mentioned link of the website of the UN Security Council.
In accordance with legislation governing their respective fields, public administration authorities and other public law entities as well as bearers of public authority ensure the implementation of prohibitions and restrictions on the basis of sanctions lists.
Competent authorities for considering applications on the basis of legal instruments on restrictive measures
EU legislation allows for exemptions to certain restrictive measures, which are to be decided on by competent national authorities. Pursuant to Article 8 of the ZOUPAMO, the applications are considered by the ministry or ministries responsible for the fields to which the restrictive measures apply. Nevertheless, the applications are considered by:
- the ministry responsible for finance, when the application is related to financial restrictive measures;
- the ministry responsible for the economy, when the application is related to measures restricting trade;
- the ministry responsible for foreign affairs, when the application is related to travel restrictions, development cooperation or humanitarian aid;
- the ministry responsible for the interior, when the application is related to civilian weapons, goods or equipment that could be used for internal repression;
- the ministry responsible for defence, when the application is related to military weapons and equipment and other defence goods;
- the office responsible for information security, when the application is related to information security incidents or cyberattacks.
Article 8 also defines the areas of competence of the authorities mentioned above.
Supervision of the implementation of restrictive measures
In accordance with Article 10 of the ZOUPAMO, the supervision of entities is carried out by institutions responsible for the fields to which restrictive measures apply, unless otherwise specified by directly applicable EU legal acts. Regardless of the above, the supervision falls under the remit of the following institutions:
- Bank of Slovenia, Securities Market Agency and Insurance Supervision Agency for supervising the implementation of financial restrictive measures;
- Financial Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for supervising the entry, exit, transit or carriage of goods in accordance with customs regulations and regulations stipulating sanctions;
- Police for supervising the implementation of travel restrictions;
- Internal Affairs Inspectorate for supervising the implementation of sanctions related to civilian weapons;
- Defence Inspectorate for supervising the implementation of sanctions related to military weapons.
Fines for violation of restrictive measures
Article 10a of the ZOUPAMO sets out fines for violations of EU and national regulations on restrictive measures: between EUR 200 and 500,000 for legal persons; between EUR 200 and 150,000 for individual sole traders or self-employed persons; between EUR 40 and 10,000 for responsible persons in the above legal entities; and between EUR 40 and 5,000 for natural persons.
Violation of restrictive measures is also considered a crime as per article 374a of the Criminal Code, for which legal entities bear responsibility under Article 25 of the Liability of Legal Persons for Criminal Offences Act.
A Permanent Coordination Group (SKSOU) headed by a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ensures more uniform implementation of restrictive measures and coordination between relevant bodies. This Group may also submit opinions to the competent ministries during their processing of applications filed on the basis of Slovenian decrees, and to the Government when adopting national sanctions.
In accordance with the ZOUPAMO, the Government may adopt implementing acts to further regulate the implementation of restrictive measures, e.g. designate additional competent authorities under Articles 8 and 10 or impose additional fines.
Current regulation on restrictive measures
The following documents provide an overview of the current legal acts on restrictive measures (in Slovene).
- Omejevalni ukrepi po državah vključno z EU Sanctions Map (docx, 23 KB)
- Omejevalni ukrepi po subjektih vključno z EU Sanctions Map (docx, 13 KB)
Overview of documents related to the implementation of sanctions
Slovenian guidelines for implementing financial restrictive measures(in Slovene)Guidelines and recommendations
Lists of sanctioned persons
Lists of persons who are subject to restrictive measures according to the aforementioned legal acts are contained in the documents named above. For a quick overview of financial sanctions in the EU, please see the consolidated list of persons, groups and entities subject to EU financial sanctions. For an overview of the United Nations Security Council Sanctions List, please see the UNCS Consolidated List.
Lifting the sanction and the freeze on funds, and de-listing
Lifting the sanction
On the basis of the ZOUPAMO, a person whose funds have been frozen may file an application with the competent bodies to lift the sanction. In this case, a certain amount of funds in the account is released to cover basic needs, which are admissible in line with the sanction decrees, for instance for payments of foodstuffs, health care services and similar. The competent ministry under the Slovenian Implementation Decree takes decisions on such applications; in all other cases, Article 8 of the ZOUPAMO applies.
Lifting the freeze
The freeze on the funds is lifted when restrictive measures against a person whose funds have been frozen end. In practice, this means that an appropriate legal basis for restrictive measures in a particular area in general or against an individual cease to apply.
Slovenian decrees implementing UN or EU acts automatically cease to apply when the acts in question cease to apply.
If it is established that persons, groups or entities are wrongly included in an EU, UN or Slovenian sanctions lists, they may submit a request for removal from the list(s).
EU and UN procedures relating to terrorism
Pursuant to the Common Position 2001/931/CFSP and Regulation 2580/2001/EC, EU Member States have adopted special guidelines for the measures relating to the EU terrorist lists, including de-listing. Further explanation on the procedure in the Slovenian language is available on the site of the European Council.
Requests for removal from the lists contained in the Annex to Regulation 881/2002/EC implementing UNSC Resolution 1267 (1999) may be submitted to the European Commission following the procedure laid down in Regulation 881/2002/EC. De-listing requests in line with Resolution 1267 (1999) may also be submitted to the Ombudsperson following the procedure outlined on the website of the United Nations Security Council.
EU and UN procedures in relation to restrictive measures against third countries
The procedures vary, depending on whether they are related to autonomous EU sanctions or UN Security Council measures. Requests for removal from lists related to the EU autonomous sanctions are submitted to the Secretariat General of the Council of the EU.
Listed persons and entities may also institute proceedings against an EU act addressed to them, which are heard in the General Court of the EU.
Requests for removal from sanctions lists related to UNSC resolutions may be submitted directly to the relevant UNSC sanctions committee via the UNSC focal point or via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information on the procedure of the UNSC focal point is available on the website of the United Nations Security Council.
Procedures in Slovenia
As in EU procedures, listed persons may also request de-listing from the Slovenian sanctions list. In this case, the request should be submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
The listed persons may also institute proceedings before Slovenian courts against decrees on their placement on sanctions lists.