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/Finland/2017/64
Database of the CAHDI "The implementation of United Nations sanctions" - contribution of Finland - 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, update March 2017)

The following complements the reply provided by the European Union.

Sanctions imposed by the UNSC or the EU are implemented at the national level by virtue of the act on the Enforcement of Certain Obligations of Finland as a Member of the United Nations and of the European Union ("Sanctions Act", Act No 659/1967 as amended by Act No 824/1990, 705/1997, 191/2000, 882/2001, 364/2002 and 504/2015). The Act provides a basis for prompt implementation of provisions of Council sanctions regulations in a case where regulations are adopted on the basis of Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

The Sanctions Act, together with the Criminal Code (Act No. 39/1889), provides for the sanctions and forfeitures to be imposed for violations of UNSC resolutions or Council regulations. According to Chapter 46, Section 1 (9) of the Criminal Code, a person who violates or attempts to violate a regulatory provision in a sanctions regulation, adopted on the basis of Article 215 TFEU, shall be sentenced for a regulation offence to a fine or to imprisonment for at most two years. Pursuant to Chapter 46, Section 2 of the Criminal Code, the penalty for an aggravated regulation offence it at least four months and at most four years of imprisonment. Pursuant to Chapter 46, Section 3 of the Criminal Code, when the regulation offence is deemed petty, the offender shall be sentenced for a petty regulation offence to a fine.

The Sanctions Act further provides a basis for implementing binding UNSC resolutions in the absence of a corresponding Council regulation. In such a case, the resolution would be implemented through a government decree on the enforcement of obligations arising from the applicable resolution. For practical reasons, and in order to avoid undesired parallel legislation, government decrees have not been issued if the Council regulation is expected to be adopted.

The arms embargoes imposed by the UNSC resolutions and EU Council decisions are implemented at the national level by virtue of the Act on the Export of Defence Materiel (Act No. 282/2012). This legislation applies to all goods included in the Common Military List of the European Union (OJ C 129, 21.4.2015, p. 1). According to the Act, the export, transit or brokerage of defence materiel is subject to specific authorisation (export, transit and brokerage licence). A licence to export, transit or broker shall not be granted if it jeopardizes Finland's security or is inconsistent with Finland's foreign policy. Authorisation will not be granted for the export of defence materiel to any country that is subject to arms embargo, unless grounds for exemption exist for the type of export in question as provided by Security Council resolution or EU Council decision. According to Chapter 46, Section 11 of the Criminal Code, violation or attempted violation of the authorisation scheme referred to in the Act on the Export of Defence Materiel is punishable as a defence supplies export offence. The offender shall be fined or imprisoned for a maximum period of four years.

Furthermore, the Firearms Act (Act No 1/1998) provides that the transfer, import, export and transit for commercial purposes of firearms, firearm components, cartridges and specially dangerous projectiles shall be subject to an authorisation. The licensing authority shall when appropriate establish with the Ministry for Foreign affairs that there are no foreign or security policy obstacles for the granting of an export or transit permit.

The Aliens Act (No. 301/2004) regulates the requirements concerning admission into Finland and visa issuance. The Aliens Act, together with EU Council decisions on restrictive measures and Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 as amended, provides the basis for the refusal of admission and the denial of applications for visa concerning persons subject to travel ban. The names of persons designated as being subject to restrictive measures have been included into the national electronic visa register to which the Finnish Border Guard also has access.

Responsibility for the enforcement of EU restrictive measures is divided among the relevant national authorities. For example, the freezing of funds of a natural or legal person designated in a Council regulation is executed by the bailiff at the request of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Other competent authorities include i.a. the National Bureau of Investigation, the Finnish Border Guard and Finnish Customs.

As to the relevant case law, there have been no such cases before national courts in Finland.

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

The choice depends on the nature of the measure that must be taken (see answer to question 1).

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?

See the reply by the European Union.

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?

A reference to the competent national authorities is made in the annexes of the relevant EU Council Regulations.

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

See the reply by the European Union.

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?

There have been no such cases before national courts in Finland.

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