The implementation of United Nations sanctions

This database contains the original national contributions bringing together information on The implementation of United Nations sanctions

Information on the contribution

Member State
Created on
Contribution of 01/03/2006
Permanent link to the contribution Sanctions/Netherlands/2016/55
Database of the CAHDI "The implementation of United Nations sanctions" - contribution of Netherlands - 01/03/2006

1. Which are the procedures for the incorporation of Security Council Resolutions imposing sanctions into the internal legal order of your State? Are they incorporated through legislation, regulations or in any other way? Has the implementation given rise to any constitutional or other legal problems at national level? Is there any relevant case-law?

(March 2006)

The Sanctiewet 1977 (“Law on sanctions”, an English translation is attached) is the Dutch legal framework for the implementation of international sanctions. The Sanctiewet authorizes the ministers concerned to implement international sanctions via secondary legislation. Usually UNSC Resolutions imposing sanctions are implemented by the European Union via Regulations; these regulations are directly applicable in member states of the Union and do not require other additional national legislation than is needed for the imposing of penalties. In such cases Dutch legislative measures are restricted to the imposing of penalties on breaches of the European Regulation, via secondary legislation (“Sanctieregeling”). A Sanctieregeling to penalize a breach of an European Regulation simply states that a breach of the specified paragraphs of the European Regulation is punishable. The height of the penalties is regulated in the Wet op de economische delicten (“Law on economic offences”).

If specific UNSC sanctions are not within the boundaries of the competence of the European Council – such as arms embargoes or the obligation to transfer money belonging to former Iraqi leaders to the Iraq Development Fund – the Dutch authorities implement the UNSC Resolutiondirectly and completely by means of a Sanctieregeling as well. In such a case the content of the Sanctieregeling is not limited to the penalization of a breach of specified paragraphs of the Resolution: the Sanctieregeling includes the text of the relevant provisions as well. In addition to this the transfer of arms is controlled by means of a licensing system based on the Law on Imports and Exports.

2. Does the choice depend on the content and the legal nature of the Security Council Resolution?

All binding international sanctions are implemented via secondary legislation unless no legislation is required to ensure that individuals, organisations or companies observe the regulations: travel restrictions for instance are implemented by denying access, no additional legislation is needed.

3. When sanctions are imposed for a fixed period of time which is not renewed, are they tacitly repealed within your domestic legal order or is any normative action required?

Sanctions imposed for a fixed period are implemented by means of temporary secondary legislation. No action is required to repeal that type of legislation.

4. When a Security Council Resolution imposing an export embargo provides for exceptions while not establishing a committee to authorise such exceptions, does the incorporating act appoint a national authority, which is competent to authorise export?

Yes. The Minister of Economic Affairs is designated to authorise exports.

5. Are Sanctions Committee decisions specifying Security Council sanctions or setting conditions for their activation incorporated into domestic law?


6. Have there been cases where the act incorporating sanctions in the domestic legal order was challenged in court for being in violation of human rights? For example, have national courts assumed jurisdiction in cases where sanctions are challenged by individuals affected by sanctions: a. if implemented through EU regulations? b. if implemented directly at national level?


7. Are there decisions of national courts or state practice concerning the relationship between sanctions towards individuals and the human rights of these individuals?