SECO measures

In Switzerland, the coercive measures taken to implement the sanctions adopted by the UN, the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) or the EU to enforce international public law, and in particular the rights of the are issued in the form of federal council ordinances and are governed by the federal law on the application of international sanctions (the law on embargoes).

If lists with the names of the persons, organizations and groups affected by the measures are issued within the sanctions imposed, these are usually included in the respective Federal Council ordinance in the form of an annex.

The Secretariat of State for Economic Affairs (SECO) of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs is the competent authority for the implementation of these ordinances.

Economic sanctions often include financial sanctions, such as the blocking of assets, the blocking of economic resources, the prohibition of transactions, accompanied by an obligation to declare to SECO concerning locked assets.

The financial intermediaries have the obligation to keep themselves informed about the sanctions in force and to apply without delay coercive measures and communication obligations. Currently, measures are in force against

  • of the “Al-Qaïda” group or the Taliban
  • of the Republic of Iraq
  • of Liberia
  • of Myanmar (formerly Burma)
  • Zimbabwean
  • of Sudan
  • of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • of Belarus
  • of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea)
  • of Lebanon
  • of the Islamic Republic of Iran
  • of Somalia
  • of Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • of Libya
  • of Syria
  • of Guinea-Bissau
  • of the Central African Republic
  • Ukraine
  • of Yemen
  • of the Republic of South Sudan
  • of certain persons in connection with the Rafik Hariri attack

The application of the list set up by the UN Committee for sanctions against Al-Qaïda and the Taliban takes place according to the procedure described in point 1: on 2 October 2000, the Federal Council adopted, pursuant to Resolution 1267 of the Security Council of the ‘UN, the ordinance on measures against the Taliban (Afghanistan), then based on the Federal Constitution, as the law on embargos did not yet exist.

Like the UN resolution, the Swiss ordinance also establishes measures against persons and organizations linked to Osama bin Laden, the “Al-Qaïda” group or the Taliban (RS 946,203), has undergone several consecutive changes to be adequate to changed circumstances. The individuals and groups affected by the measures are listed in Annex 2 of this ordinance, which is based on the decisions of the Sanctions Committee against Al-Qaïda and the Taliban and is regularly updated.

The assets and economic resources belonging to or controlled by natural and legal persons, groups and organizations mentioned in Annex 2 of the Ordinance are immediately blocked. It is also forbidden to transfer funds to such persons, groups or organizations or to put funds or economic resources at their disposal directly or indirectly.

Financial intermediaries who hold or manage assets or who are aware of economic resources, which must be presumed to be affected by this block, must declare them without delay to SECO. The block must be kept until the order is properly amended. Before revoking a block, contact the SECO.