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International financial sanctions (United Nations)

The United Nations Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, has adopted several resolutions imposing sanctions against governments, persons or entities. These UN sanctions regimes have been transposed into European law by the European Union, making them directly applicable in Belgium. 

UN freezing measures has to be immediately applied in Belgium

As part of these sanctions regimes, the UN Security Council regularly adds names to the lists of individuals and entities whose funds are to be frozen. For these freezing measures to be effective, the freezing of funds must be applied immediately, otherwise the persons and entities concerned will be able to protect their funds.

In the past, after each new listing of a person or entity on a UN sanctions list, the Minister of Finance issued a ministerial decree freezing the funds of this person or entity in Belgium based on the decision of the UN Security Council until this decision is transposed into European law. Here you will find an overview of these ministerial orders.

This approach was not only administratively cumbersome, but the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) also considered it insufficiently effective to respect the international obligation to immediately apply the freezing measures of the UN Security Council in Belgium.

Title VIII (art. 235 to 240) of the law of 2 May 2019 on various financial provisions remedied this failure by repealing the system of ministerial decrees (art. 238) and by stipulating that the measures freezes adopted by the UN Security Council must be implemented from the time they are adopted by the UN Security Council (art. 236).

Even if, in the past, ministerial decrees already imposed the obligation to immediately apply UN freezing measures, this new regulation provides greater legal certainty. It is no longer necessary to wait for the publication of the ministerial decree to be 100% sure that the UN freezing measure is applied immediately.

The law provides penalties for breaches of the obligation to immediately apply UN freezing measures (art. 237).

Useful information

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