INSIGHT: Sudan Sanctions
Sanctions imposed on Sudan since late 1990s have been partially relaxed since the establishment of the independent South Sudan. Some sanctions remain in force.
The Security Council first imposed an arms embargo on all non-governmental entities and individuals, operating in Darfur on 30 July 2004 with the adoption of resolution 1556. The sanctions regime was modified and strengthened with the adoption of resolution 1591 (2005), which expanded the scope of arms embargo and imposed additional measures including a travel ban and an assets freeze on individuals designated by the Committee. The enforcement of the arms embargo was further strengthened by resolution 1945 (2010) and updated by the resolution 2035 (2012). The sanctions measures currently in effect can be summarized as follows:
- Arms embargo for parties acting in the Darfur region (otherwise allowed subject to confirmation that end user is not prohibited/sanctioned)
- Travel ban - designated individuals are not allowed to visit or transit UN states
- Assets freeze - of individuals and entities controlled by designated individuals
Consolidated travel & asset freeze list can be found here.
US sanctions against Sudan were in place since 1997. On 6 October 2017 US government announced it will terminate the majority of economic sanctions against Sudan with effect from 12 October 2017. As a result, US persons will be able to engage in most trade with Sudan, including the government of Sudan and persons and entities previously blocked under E.O. 13067 and 13412.
OFAC has issued a new general licence authorising (re)exports to Sudan of of agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices. General license is required under the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (TSRA), which remains in place.
US and non-US persons will still need to obtain any licenses required by the BIS to (re)export to Sudan certain items (commodities, software, technology) remaining on the Commerce Control List or subject EAR.
The US State Department has issued a press statement with respect to this revocation of sanctions. OFAC has also published frequently asked questions on Sudan sanctions. On 11 August 2020 OFAC has published the Sudan Programme and Darfur Sanctions Guidance clarifying the scope of OFAC sanctions including sanctions against those involved in Darfur conflict.
Sanctions against South Sudan will remain in place as will sanctions in response to the situation in Darfur. Persons designated under executive orders other than E.O. 13067 and 13412 will also remain designated. Although the SSR will be revoked, OFAC will still have authority to seek enforcement actions for violations of the SSR prior to the revocation. Sudan will continue to remain on the State Sponsors of Terrorism List which carries, among other things, a ban on weapon sales and restrictions on US foreign assistance
In March 1994 the European Union imposed an arms embargo on Sudan in response to the civil in war in the southern part of the country (Council Decision 94/165/CFSP). In January and June 2004 the embargo was modified to also cover technical and financial assistance related to arms supplies.
In May 2005 the EU implemented the UN sanctions on Sudan related to the conflict in Darfur by merging them with the existing EU arms embargo on Sudan (including providing technical assistance, brokering services or other services related to military initiatives or manufacturing, maintenance and use of prohibited items). The arms embargo was also amended to allow assistance and supplies provided in support of implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Sudanese Government and the South Sudanese rebels, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement. (Common Position 2005/411/CFSP, Council Regulation (EC) No 838/2005.)
After South Sudan became independent, the EU in July 2011 amended the arms embargo to cover both Sudan and South Sudan by Council Decision 2011/423/CFSP. The supply of non-lethal military equipment and related assistance to support Security Sector Reform in South Sudan was exempted from the arms embargo.
On 7 May 2015 EU issued a new Council Regulation 2015/735 combining sanctions previously divided among several documents. It also opens for imposing further sanctions on persons obstructing political process in South Sudan or committing serious violations of human rights.
Current list of designated persons in Sudan can be found on the UK government's site.
US first introduced sanctions against Sudan in November 1997 with the Executive Order 13067. They were further expanded in the Executive Order 13400 (blocking property of persons connected to conflict in the Darfur region).
A further Executive Order 13412 of 13 October 2006 introduced a country wide blocking of Government of Sudan (the regional government of South Sudan was later excluded).
All transactions by U.S. persons relating to Sudan's petroleum or petrochemical industries, including, but not limited to, oilfield services and oil or gas pipelines are prohibited.
Trade and humanitarian assistance are no longer prohibited in the exempt areas, provided that these activities do not involve Sudan's petroleum or petrochemical industries or any property or interests in property of the Government of Sudan.
Specific areas of Sudan are exempt from the prohibition: Southern Sudan, Southern Kordofan/Nuba Mountains State, Blue Nile State, Abyei, Darfur, and marginalized areas in and around Khartoum.
Financial transactions involving third country banks or non-SDN Sudanese banks located in the Specified Areas of Sudan are not prohibited and do not require authorization from OFAC, provided that: the transaction does not involve activities in the non-Specified Areas of Sudan, the Government of Sudan does not have an interest in the transaction, and the transaction is not related to Sudan's petroleum or petrochemical industries.
In addition OFAC has issued several general licenses with respect to Sudan:
- activities and transactions related to petroleum and petrochemical industries and related financial transactions & transhipment of goods, technology and services through Sudan to/from South Sudan and related financial transactions are allowed
- since April 2013 certain academic and professional exchange activities between US and Sudan are allowed
On 3 April 2014 the President signed a new Executive Order related to the situation in South Sudan. The Executive Order does not target the country of South Sudan, but rather targets those responsible for the conflict there, which has been marked by widespread violence and the obstruction of humanitarian operations. This Executive Order allows the United States to impose sanctions against any individual or entity that threatens the peace, stability, or security of South Sudan, commits human rights abuses against persons in South Sudan, expands or extends the conflict in South Sudan, or undermines democratic processes or institutions in South Sudan.
Overview of the latest sanctions can be found here.
Fact sheet/FAQs on South Sudan issued by OFAC on 8 December 2011.
On 17 January 2017 - recognising positive developments in the country - the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced an amendment to the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 538 (SSR) authorising all transactions prohibited by the SSR and by Executive Orders 13067 and 13412, and unblocking previously blocked property in which the Government of Sudan has an interest.
As a result of these amendments:
- All property and interests in property blocked pursuant to the SSR will be unblocked.
- All trade between the United States and Sudan that was previously prohibited by the SSR will be authorized.
- All transactions by US persons relating to the petroleum or petrochemical industries in Sudan that were previously prohibited by the SSR will be authorized, including oilfield services and oil and gas pipelines.
- US persons will no longer be prohibited from facilitating transactions between Sudan and third countries, to the extent previously prohibited by the SSR.
Please note that certain sanctions and restrictions remain in place, including, but not limited to individuals and entities blocked under E.O.13400.
List of sanctioned entities (joint for all sanctioned countries) can be found here.
See also Client Alert from Freehill Hogan & Mahar "US Rolls back sanctions against Sudan", published 17 January 2017.
On 11 July 2017, President Trump postponed for three months a decision on whether to permanently lift sanctions against Sudan. In the meantime, the temporary sanctions relief granted under the general license, which became effective on 17 January 2017 remains in place.
See also Client Alert from Freehill Hogan & Mahar "Sudan sanctions relief extended three months" published on 14 July 2017.