On January 3, 2023, the Law on Restrictive Measures against Certain Serious Acts Applied in International Relations (Sanctions Law), Act No. 1/2023 Coll., entered into force in the Czech Republic.
This act, which Czech President Miloš Zeman had signed into law on December 7, 2022, enables the Czech state to impose national sanctions outside of the EU’s sanctions list on foreign individuals and companies associated with organizations or regimes that violate human rights or employ terrorist methods and cyberattacks.
A news article on the official website of the Chamber of Deputies (lower house) of the Czech Parliament announcing the passage of the sanctions bill by the chamber on October 14, 2022, said that the new legislation authorizes the Czech state to impose a ban on the entry and stay of foreigners who commit serious unlawful acts and to freeze their assets in the country.
The new law defines the Czech Republic’s interest in maintaining and restoring international peace, strengthening its security policy, supporting democracy, protecting human rights and freedoms, and establishing the rules for the inclusion of certain foreign individuals and entities on the national sanctions list. Also, the new law introduces the procedure for preparing proposals for including foreign nationals or entities on the European Union (EU) sanctions list at the initiative of the Czech Republic. (Sanctions Law § 1(a), (b), (c).)
Article 2 of the new law distinguishes between the EU sanctions list and the national sanctions list. The law defines the EU sanctions list as the list of entities against which restrictive measures are applied according to the relevant EU regulations, while the national sanctions list of entities refers to the restrictive measures that are applied on the basis of the Sanctions Law. (§ 2; § (3)(d), (e).)
Under the Sanctions Law, the listing procedure must be ensured by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the government of the Czech Republic. (§ 3(a), (b).)
The law empowers the government to sanction individuals and companies at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ (MFA’s) suggestion. (§ 5(1).)
The MFA is charged with a duty to collect, verify, and evaluate the grounds for inclusion of individuals or entities on the national sanction list or on the EU sanction list, and to submit a proposal to the government for the inclusion, change, or removal from the relevant sanctions list. (§ 3(b), (c).)
The proposal to the government must include a description of the violations committed by the targeted entities and individuals; a reference to the provision of the corresponding EU regulation; and information on restrictive measures to be imposed on the relevant entities, either under the EU regulation or under the Law on the Implementation of International Sanctions (No. 69/2006 Coll, as amended, consolidated version of Sept. 1, 2022). (Sanctions Law § 4(5), (6), (7).)
Furthermore, before submitting its proposal to the government, the MFA must discuss the proposal with the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Defense, the Financial Analytical Office, and the police and intelligence services of the Czech Republic. (§ 4(7).)
In addition, the MFA must discuss the proposal with other administrative authorities, such as the Czech National Bank or the General Directorate of Customs, if the implementation of the proposed restrictive measures applies to their domain. The executive authorities may also be engaged if the MFA considers it necessary. (§ 4(7).)
The law states that the MFA may simultaneously propose inclusion of foreign nationals or companies on the national sanctions list and the EU sanctions list by submitting a proposal to the relevant EU authorities. (§ 7(1), (2).)
Within one month after the submission of the proposal, the government must decide whether to register the suggested individuals or entities on the national sanctions list. (§ 5(1).) The law prescribes that the decision to register an entity on the national sanctions list must always include the scope of restrictive measures against the individuals or entities. (§ 5(3).) The government’s decision must be implemented by the MFA without delay. (§ 7(8).)
The law states that the implementation of the restrictive measures provided in the national sanctions list must be carried out in accordance with the Law on the Implementation of International Sanctions of the Czech Republic.
The restrictive measures are to be applied from the moment of registration on the national sanctions list. (§ 8(3).) The sanctioned individuals or companies can request a judicial review of the decision. The MFA must submit the objection of the sanctioned individuals or entities along with its opinion to the government within 30 days of receiving the objection. The government is obliged to decide on the appeal within 30 days from its submission. (§ 7(2), (4); § 9(2), (3).)
In addition, the sanctioned individuals or entities may appeal their inclusion in the national sanctions list to a court. However, the appeal does not have a suspensive effect, and an individual or entity is considered sanctioned until otherwise decided in the appellate proceedings. (§ 11(1), (2); § 12(1), (2).)
Iana Fremer, Law Library of Congress
March 20, 2023
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