Iraq sanctions regime
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Why are sanctions imposed?
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has imposed sanctions in relation to Iraq. The sanctions were initially imposed in 1990 in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Although the UNSC has removed several sanctions measures that were imposed during the Saddam Hussein era, there are still some sanctions in place in relation to Iraq.
Australia implements the UNSC sanctions concerning Iraq by incorporating them into Australian law.
What is prohibited by the Iraq sanctions regime?
The Iraq sanctions regime imposes three sanctions measures:
restrictions on supplying arms or related matériel
restrictions on using or dealing with certain assets
restrictions on dealing with cultural property that has been illegally
removed from Iraq
Restrictions on supplying arms or related matériel
The Iraq sanctions regime imposes an arms embargo. It is prohibited to directly or indirectly supply, sell or transfer arms or related matériel to Iraq without a sanctions permit.
Arms or related matériel includes, but is not limited to, weapons, ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, and spare parts and accessories for any of those things. It also includes paramilitary equipment. While each case will be considered individually, goods on the Defence and Strategic Goods List are likely to be considered arms or related matériel. Depending on the context, end user and end use, other goods may also be considered arms or related matériel. Go to Factsheet: Arms and Related Matériel for information on what to consider when assessing whether a good is an arm or related matériel.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs may grant a permit authorising the supply of arms or related matériel if the goods are required by the Government of Iraq or the multinational force for the purposes of UNSC Resolution 1546.
Restrictions on dealing with certain assets
Restrictions are imposed on using or dealing with assets that were owned by Saddam Hussein’s regime, or by persons or entities that were part of or associated with that regime and have been designated by the UNSC. It is prohibited to use or deal with any of the following assets:
- an asset of the government led by Saddam Hussein (including a state body, corporation or other body or agency) that was located in Australia on 22 May 2003
- an asset that has been removed from Iraq, or acquired, by a designated person or entity.
(See Regulations 4 and 12 of the Charter of the United Nations (Sanctions – Iraq) Regulations 2008).
An 'asset' includes an asset or property of any kind, whether tangible or intangible, movable or immovable.
Go to the Consolidated List to search the names of designated persons and entities.
If you become aware that you are holding an asset of a designated person or entity, you are required to freeze (hold) that asset and notify the AFP as soon as possible. Go to What You Need to Do for more information.
Restrictions on dealing with cultural property that has been illegally removed from Iraq
The Iraq sanctions regime seeks to protect cultural property that has been illegally removed from Iraq. An item will be protected if it was illegally removed from Iraq on or after 6 August 1990 and it is either Iraqi cultural property or it is of archaeological, historical, cultural, rare scientific or religious importance.
It is prohibited to give illegally removed cultural property to another person, to trade it or to transfer the ownership of it to another person. A person who suspects that an item is illegally removed cultural property must notify DFAT, the Arts Department or Federal, State or Territory Police (see Regulation 4 and 10 of the Charter of the United Nations (Sanctions – Iraq) Regulations 2008).
The Minister for Foreign Affairs may grant a sanctions permit to allow an activity that would otherwise be prohibited under this regime provided the activity meets specific criteria.
The table below provides a general guide to relevant criteria. You should get your own legal advice if you think your proposed activity is affected by sanctions and may meet the criteria for a permit. Go to Sanctions Permits for information on permits, including how to apply.
The Minister may need to notify or receive the approval of the UNSC Iraq Sanctions Committee before granting a sanctions permit. Where required, the Australian Sanctions Office will assist the Foreign Minister to notify or seek approval from the UNSC as part of the permit application process.
Restrictions on supplying arms or related matériel
The supply is required by the Government of Iraq or the multinational force to serve the purposes of UNSC Resolution 1546 (2004)
Regulations 5,6,7 and 8 of the Charter of the United Nations (Sanctions – Iraq) Regulations 2008
Regulations 13E of the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958
UNSC Resolution 1546 (2004)
Restrictions on dealing with certain assets of designated persons or entities (UNSC targeted financial sanctions)
The activity is:
Regulations 4 and 12 of the Charter of the United Nations (Sanctions –Iraq) Regulations 2008
Restrictions on dealing with cultural property
No permit is available.
Regulations 4 and 10 of the Charter of the United Nations (Sanctions –Iraq) Regulations 2008
The relevant legislation for the Iraq sanctions regime includes the following:
- Charter of the United Nations Act 1945
- Charter of the United Nations (Sanctions – Iraq) Regulations 2008