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Counter Terrorism 

UN Sanctions 

Counter Terrorism sanctions are among the most important and dynamic sanctions regimes in the United Nations. There are two committees established pursuant to different resolutions which are dealing with the topic of counter-terrorism. 

Sanctions imposed by the U.N. against terrorism are generally of one or several of the below measure: 

  • Financial Sanctions (Asset Freeze) 

  • Travel bans 

  • Arm embargo 

EU Sanctions 

EU follows the United Nations sanctions when it comes to counter-terrorism. It also has the authority to add names that are not listed by the United Nations. The relevant legal authorities in the EU are:

The general sanction regime is a list-based regime with the following restrictive measure:

  • Financial sanctions

While the ISIL/Al-Qaida regime has more restrictive measures in its arsenal:

  • Travel ban

  • Financial sanctions 

  • Arms embargo 

  • Prohibition on certain claim satisfaction

Please note that several European countries maintain national programs against terrorism on top of the EU counter-terrorism sanctions. 

U.S. Sanctions 

The counter-terrorism sanctions of the United States started in 1995 with the issuance of E.O. 12947. In this E.O. the United States President declared a national emergency after he found that "grave acts of violence committed by foreign terrorists that disrupt the Middle East peace process constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States". The E.O. 12497, laid down the ground for the designation of persons as SDNs. Hizbollah was designated under this E.O. 

Later in 1998, the E.O. 13099, made slight changes to the E.O. 12947. The main modification of E.O. 13099 was the addition of Usama bin Ladin to the list of terrorists targeted by the program. 

In September 2001, following the 9/11 attacks, the President issued E.O. 13224. It added several persons to the SDN list and it has different criteria for designation. 

In July 2002, the President of the United States made some changes, through E.O. 13268, to the counter-terrorism program by terminating the national emergency declared in E.O. 13129 which was targeting the Taliban. Instead, he added the Taliban and its leader, at the time, Mohammed Omar, to the annex of E.O. 13224. In January 2003, there was a trivial amendment in E.O. 13224, by E.O. 13284. The latter added the Secretary of Homeland Security as a stakeholder in the process of designation of terrorists under the counter-terrorism program. Another small yet technical amendment was made by E.O. 13372.

More recently, in September 2019, the President of the United States signed E.O. 13886 to modernize counter-terrorism sanctions and to enhance the capability of the U.S. sanctions to combat international terrorism. E.O. 13886, amended the E.O.12947 by adding new criteria for designation. Furthermore, it authorizes the prohibition of the opening, and prohibition or imposition of strict conditions on the maintaining, in the United States, of a correspondent account or payable-through account of any foreign financial institution, determined that has knowingly conducted or facilitated any significant transaction on behalf of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.

OFAC has codified the regulations related to counter-terrorism sanctions under 31 C.F.R. Part 594.

The tag used to identify SDNs related to terrorism is [SDGT]. Also, there are a few other tags that although have more particularity, they are still under the counter-terrorism program namely [SHIELD-ACT], [IRGC], and [HIFPAA]. As of April 11, 2020, there are more than 7500 entries on the SDN list related to the counter-terrorism program. 

Separately, per 31 C.F.R. part 596 it is prohibited for a US person in engage in a financial transaction with the government of a state that is designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.

Finally, part 597 of title 31 of the C.F.R. requires U.S. financial institutions to block all financial transactions involving any assets of Foreign Terrorist Organizations within the possession or control of such U.S. financial institutions. Such groups and entities or individuals related to such groups are listed with an additional tag of [FTO]. 

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