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Sweden Explains It All: EU Zimbabwe sanctions

The history behind the sanctions:

Zimbabwe under President Mugabe's regime has long been marked by an undemocratic political system and serious human rights violations. This led the EU to impose targeted restrictions on Zimbabwe in 2002, as human rights were seriously violated and the government at the time had adopted laws that would restrict freedom of assembly, expression and association. The EU has repeatedly had reason to point out that the measures against Zimbabwe comprise precisely targeted restrictions and not broad sanctions. Since then, the restrictive measures include an arms embargo and individual restrictions for selected persons in the country's leadership and those associated with them. Certain companies are also included. The UN, however, has not decided on any measures against Zimbabwe. An attempt was made by the UN Security Council to introduce restrictions following the unsuccessful presidential elections in 2008, but this was vetoed.

A parliamentary and presidential election was held in 2008, but was followed by widespread political violence directed at supporters of MDC, the opposition party at that time. The leader of the opposition, Morgan Tsvangirai, withdrew from the presidential election. Since the Southern African Development Community (SADC) instructed South Africa to facilitate a solution to the acute political crisis resulting from the election, an agreement between the parties for power-sharing and democratic reforms, the Global Political Agreement (GPA), was reached in September 2008. A coalition government, with Robert Mugabe (ZANU-PF) as President and Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) as Prime Minister, has been in place since February 2009. The situation in the country has stabilised somewhat since the coalition government took over, and progress has particularly been noted in the economy and the social situation. However, implementation of democratic reforms and increased respect for human rights via the GPA has progressed slowly. In recent years the EU's restrictive measures have been conditional on seeing more progress in implementing the GPA.

What the sanctions are:

1. Arms embargo, etc.

The arms embargo covers the sale, export and supply of arms, ammunition, military vehicles and equipment to Zimbabwe, as well as any associated financial and technical assistance. Exemptions may be granted for equipment that is to be used for humanitarian or protective purposes by the UN or the EU. There is also a prohibition on the export of equipment that might be used for internal repression, as well as any associated financial and technical assistance.

2. Travel restrictions

The travel restrictions involve a prohibition on entry and transit for individuals involved in activities that seriously undermine democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law in Zimbabwe. The persons covered by the travel restrictions are included in a list, which is updated continuously. The list mainly includes people linked to President Mugabe and ZANU-PF. Exemptions may be made on urgent humanitarian grounds or, in special exceptional circumstances, for participation in intergovernmental meetings in which dialogue directly promoting human rights and democracy is conducted. A special procedure applies to these exemptions.

3. Freezing of assets

The restrictions mean that assets and economic resources belonging to certain identified individuals in the regime in Zimbabwe or linked to it are to be frozen. The restrictions also apply to entities controlled by these individuals, such as companies. It is also prohibited for others to place assets and other resources at their disposal. Exemptions may be granted for funds necessary to cover basic living costs and for expenditure to cover legal costs. The persons covered by the freezing of assets are included on a list which has subsequently been amended. The group is described as members of Zimbabwe's government and persons and entities linked to it. The list includes the same natural persons as the list of those covered by the travel restrictions, with the addition of certain companies.

And the EU decisions relevant to the sanctions:

Decisions of the Council of the European Union (previously known as common positions) are binding for Sweden under international law. To the extent these fall under national competence, they are implemented via Swedish legislation, for example in military equipment legislation for the arms embargo. Implementation of those measures falling under EU competence are further regulated under EU law regulations from the Council. These apply directly in Sweden.

Since February 2011, the EU's restrictive measures against Zimbabwe have been regulated by Council Decision 2011/101/CFSP. The Council Decision includes previous common positions and amendments consolidated in a single legal act. The annex to the decision indicates which persons are covered by the individual restrictions. The decision applies until 20 February 2013 following a renewal of restrictions through Council Decision 2012/97/CFSP. The list was updated at the most recent renewal, including the removal of 51 names and 20 companies. Besides two deceased persons, the update involved the removal of persons no longer considered relevant to fulfil the criteria for which the measures were introduced and individuals for whom current information did not justify a listing. At the same time, travel restrictions were suspended for the two ZANU-PF members of the Zimbabwean Ministerial Re-engagement Team to facilitate dialogue with the international community.

The parts of the measures pertaining to EU law, including prohibitions against technical and financial assistance in connection with the arms embargo, prohibition concerning equipment that may be used for internal repression and the freezing of assets, are regulated in Council Regulation 314/2004, most recently updated through Council Regulation 151/2012.


Sweden EU Zimbabwe sanctions page


Categories: EU Updates Sanctions Programs Sanctions Regulations ZImbabwe Sanctions


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