Historical archive

Government proposes new sanctions act

Historical archive

Published under: Solberg's Government

Publisher Ministry of Foreign Affairs

‘The Government’s proposal for a new sanctions act will ensure that we can quickly and effectively implement, under Norwegian law, the EU restrictive measures that Norway has aligned itself with. This will apply to the EU’s Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime, among others. At the same time, the act will strengthen legal safeguards for people who find themselves targeted by sanctions,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.

The Government has today submitted a Proposition to the Storting on the implementation of international sanctions (Act relating to sanctions). The new act will replace two enabling acts, from 1968 and 2001, that currently authorises the Norwegian Government to make sanctions regulations in order to implement internationally binding UN sanctions (the 1968 act) and restrictive EU measures endorsed by Norway following a political assessment (the 2001 act).

Since adoption of the existing sanctions legislation, there has been a clear trend towards increased use of sanctions as a means of maintaining peace and security and ensuring respect for democracy and rule of law, human rights and international law in general. The sanctions, however, have become more targeted, and today they are to a large extent directed at individuals.

‘This act will extend the Government’s authority to impose sanctions, together with like-minded states, on individuals who are responsible for or involved in especially serious acts that demand a response. It makes it possible to implement measures against people who are behind serious human rights violations and abuses, threatening cyber operations, and the use and proliferation of chemical weapons,’ the Foreign Minister said.

Norway has aligned itself politically with EU restrictive measures against such actions, but at present the Government does not have legal authority to fully implement these measures in Norwegian legislation. Whereas travel restrictions for the people in question can be implemented with a legal basis in the Immigration Act, there is currently no legal basis for imposing financial restrictions against them.

The reason for this is that the Government’s existing authority is limited to implementing measures targeted towards states or movements, and does not encompass measures targeted towards individuals or entities that are not affiliated with a specific state or movement. Under the new act, Norway, together with other countries, will be able to impose sanctions on individuals and entities that violate fundamental international norms.

The proposed new sanctions act, like existing legislation, will authorise the Government to implement sanctions that have been adopted by intergovernmental organisations (in practice the UN and the EU) or that have broad support among like-minded countries. It will not authorise the Government to introduce sanctions on its own (unilateral sanctions) or with only a few other countries. Sanctions are more effective when implemented by many states in concert.

The bill also strengthens the legal protection of individuals who are targeted by sanctions implemented by Norway.

‘The act will also give targeted persons the opportunity to appeal. That is essential to due process,’ Ms Eriksen Søreide said.

To strengthen the legal safeguards for targeted persons, the new sanctions act proposes to include a special provision granting targeted persons an administrative right of appeal. Another special provision being proposed concerns judicial review of legal actions challenging the validity of listings. This is to safeguard the right of targeted persons to an effective remedy under Article 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Under this special provision it will be possible to appoint a special advocate, as is the case under the Nationality Act and the Immigration Act, to ensure that both sides can be heard while also addressing the need for secrecy in connection with information of importance to national security or relations with a foreign state.

The final important change is that the bill expands the geographic scope of the sanctions legislation to include Svalbard and Jan Mayen.

Press release: Norway to align itself with the new EU sanctions regime against serious human rights violations

Press contact: Marte Lerberg Kopstad, mlko@mfa.no