President Barack Obama Issues Executive Order Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Conflict in Somalia
By Executive Order effective at 12:01 a.m. on April 13, 2010, United States President Barack Obama declared a national emergency to deal with the threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States presented by the persistence of violence in Somalia and acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia.
The Executive Order blocks the transfer, payment, export or withdrawal of property or property interests, which are or will be in the United States, by certain persons identified in the Order. In addition to eleven (11) individuals and one (1) entity expressly named in the Annex to the Order, the Order also targets individuals and entities determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State to have:
- engaged in acts that directly or indirectly threaten the peace, security, or stability of Somalia (including through acts of piracy or armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia);
- obstructed the delivery of, access to, or distribution of humanitarian assistance in Somalia;
- directly or indirectly supplied to or received in Somalia arms, technical advice, training, or (financial) assistance related to military activities;
- provided support, goods or services in support of any of the above-referenced activities or in support of any person whose property is blocked by the Order; or
- is owned, controlled by, or has acted on behalf of any person whose property or property interests are blocked pursuant to the Order.
The Order also prohibits the making of donations intended to be used to relieve human suffering to any person whose property is blocked pursuant to the Order, noting that such donations would impair the President's ability to respond to the national emergency declared in the Order. It also prohibits persons from making or receiving funds, goods, or services to or from any person whose property is blocked by the Order; and from violating, attempting to violate, or conspiring to violate the prohibitions set forth in the Order.
Finally, the Order provides that there need be no prior notice of the Secretary of the Treasury's determination that a person is subject to the Executive Order, as such notice of the measures contained in the Order would likely render those measures ineffectual.
Pursuant to the Executive Order, the Secretary of the Treasury is authorized to take any actions to carry out the purposes of the order; to submit recurring reports to Congress on the national emergency declared in the order; and to determine whether the continued blocking of property of a person identified in the Order is warranted.
The Executive Order was issued pursuant to President Obama's authority under, inter alia, the United States Constitution; the International Emergency Economic Powers Act; and the National Emergencies Act. Acting pursuant to this Order, the United States Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") promptly updated its "Specially Designated Nationals" ("SDN") list to include those individuals and entities expressly named in the Annex to the President's Order.
In addition, the United Nations Security Council issued Resolution 1918 (2010) on Tuesday, April 27, 2010. The Resolution, proposed by Russia, acknowledges the ongoing crisis off the coast of Somalia and seeks to tighten security against piracy and potentially establish international tribunals for prosecution. The unanimously adopted resolution calls upon countries to criminalize piracy under their domestic law and to strengthen legislation relating to the prosecution of suspected pirates apprehended off of the coast of Somalia.
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