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

Created on
Contribution of 01/09/2013
Permanent link to the contribution Sanctions/Mexico/2019/7
Database of the CAHDI "The implementation of United Nations sanctions" - contribution of Mexico - 01/09/2013

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?

(September 2013)

Mexican law does not prescribe any specific procedure for the incorporation of obligations imposed by the UN Security Council. However, according to article 133 of Mexico’s Constitution, treaties signed and ratified by Mexico are ipso facto an integral part of our legal system. This provision could also be interpreted in the sense that no act of transformation of an international treaty of which Mexico is a party to is required. Therefore, international obligations imposed by the Security Council are mandatory within the Mexican legal system by virtue of article 25 of the UN Charter in conjunction with article 133 of Mexican Constitution.

To some extent, Mexico’s experience on implementing Security Council resolutions has followed the evolution registered by the UN organ. From 1946 until 1989 the Security Council adopted 646 resolutions and just in two cases (Southern Rhodesia, 1966, and South Africa, 1977) established sanctions against specific States. During that period there were not any difficulties implementing the UNSC resolutions and sanctions. In the latter case, mainly because they were directed against States and its dispositions concerned diplomatic actions to be carried out by the Mexican government.

The 1990´s decade observed the evolution in the proceedings of the UNSC. The scope of sanctions evolved from its original nature (i.e. directed to States) to a broader scope. Hence, sanctions were imposed not only on States, but also on non-State actors and more recently on individuals. During the last decade the Mexican government published the sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Iraq and Kuwait, Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), Libya, Angola, Haiti, Liberia and Rwanda. In fact, from August 1990 until February 1996, twelve decrees were published in the “Diario Oficial de la Federación” (Official Journal of the Federation) informing about the establishment, suspension and repeal of sanction regimes against the above mentioned States. Although there is not a specific procedure to incorporate UNSC sanctions resolutions into the Mexican legal system, there have been no constitutional problems in implementing their dispositions. However, as was pointed out before, there is a need for further adjustments in order to cope with the broader scope encompassed in the “new generation” of UNSC sanctions resolutions. A copy of this agreement is attached. (Spanish version only).

In 2012, bearing in mind the legal effects of UN Security Council resolutions within the Mexican legal system by virtue of article 133 of the Mexican Constitution, the ratification of the UN Charter by Mexico in 1945 and the key role of the UN Security Council in the preservation of the international peace and security, the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Mexican Ministry of Economy, signed and inter-ministerial agreement to ban the exportation and importation of several merchandises to (i) the Democratic Republic of Somali, (ii) the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, (iii) the Republic of Iraq, (iv) the Republic of Liberia, (v) the Democratic Republic of the Congo, (vi) the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, (vii) the Democratic Republic of Korea, (viii) the Republic of Sudan, (ix) the Democratic Republic of Iran, (x) the Eritrean State and (xi) Libya in accordance with several embargo and economic sanctions imposed by the UNSC against the referred States throughout the last decade. The former agreement, in light of all the previously stated, does not constitute a general legally binding instrument for the implementation of UNSC sanctions within Mexican legal system, but rather an administrative agreement that comprises and binds only the two referred Ministries practically charged with the execution of the referred sanctions (Annex 1, only in Spanish).

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

As stated above, the Mexican government’s practice in the 1990’s was related to the nature of the UNSC resolutions and procedures. The decrees’ principle function was to inform concerned governmental agencies of their duties under resolutions, and to promote public awareness of the restrictions on free commerce with the countries subject to UN sanctions.

Currently, there is an ongoing system of inter-ministerial administrative agreement between the concerned and relevant offices of the Mexican Government legally and practically entrusted with the enforcement of UNSC council resolution.

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?

If the UNSC sanction resolution establishes a fixed period of time and since this sanction or the inter-ministerial administrative agreement that establishes the basic procedure for its implementation, if such is the case, is published in the “Diario Oficial de la Federación” (Official Journal of the Federation), there is no need for an additional legal order. If a specific sanction regime is concluded through a new resolution, then the publication of the latter would be required.

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?

None of the decrees that were enacted by the Federal Executive in the 1990’s nor the referred inter-ministerial agreement establishes a specific national authority to enforce UNSC resolutions in Mexico. However, existing governmental agencies in charge of foreign trade regulations, as the Ministry of Economy, are, by definition, responsible for implementing UN export embargoes and their exceptions.

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

Decisions adopted by Sanctions Committees have never been published in the Official Journal of the Federation. It is, however, important to underline that these decisions are, ipso facto, incorporated to our legal system insofar as they constitute an integral part of international obligations imposed by the Security Council to the international community.

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?

To present, no domestic act of this nature has been challenged, nor has a Mexican Court assumed jurisdiction in cases concerning Security Council resolutions. Nevertheless, UNSC resolutions establishing a “listing procedure” could pose a challenge to the national legal system. First, because this kind of resolutions do not provide for a judicial mechanism that could initiate a legal action in Mexico. Second, because there are not “delisting mechanisms” within the UNSC procedures nor any other procedure to compensate the individual for erroneously including him/her in a sanction list (particularly those referred to freezing financial and economic assets.

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