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Sanctions

Sanctions are measures not involving the use of armed force that are imposed in situations of international concern, including the grave repression of human rights, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or their means of delivery, or armed conflict. They impose restrictions on activities that relate to particular countries, goods and services, or persons and entities. Australian sanction laws implement United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions regimes and the Australian autonomous sanctions regime.

Australia is obliged to implement UNSC sanctions regimes as a matter of international law.

In addition, the Australian Government has decided to implement Australian autonomous sanctions regimes as a matter of Australian foreign policy. Australian autonomous sanctions regimes may supplement UNSC sanctions regimes, or be separate from them.

Sanctions aim to limit the adverse consequences of a situation of international concern and seek to use penalties and influence of those responsible for giving rise to the situation of international concern in order to modify their behaviour so as to remove the concern.

Importance of compliance

Compliance with Australian sanction laws is very important as the legislation establishes serious criminal offences for contravening sanctions measures. These offences are punishable for individuals by up to 10 years in prison, and/or a fine the greater of $425,000 or three times the value of the transaction. They are punishable for bodies corporate by a fine the greater of $1.7 million or three times the value of the transaction.

These offences are strict liability offences for bodies corporate, meaning that it is not necessary to prove any fault element (intent, knowledge, recklessness or negligence) for a body corporate to be found guilty.

UNSC sanctions regimes are primarily implemented under the Charter of the United Nations Act 1945 (the United Nations Act) and its sets of regulations. There is a separate set of regulations under the United Nations Act for each UNSC sanctions regime. Sanctions impose restrictions on activities that relate to particular countries, goods and services, or persons and entities.

For information on sanctions measures imposed by a particular sanctions regime, see the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade - Sanctions regime webpage.

Australian autonomous sanctions are sanctions implemented by the Australian Government as a matter of Australian foreign policy. Australian autonomous sanctions regimes may supplement UNSC sanctions regimes, or be separate from them.

Australian autonomous sanctions regimes are primarily implemented under the Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011 (the Autonomous Act) and the Australian Autonomous Sanctions Regulations 2011.

For information on sanctions measures imposed by a particular sanctions regime, see the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade - Sanctions regime webpage.

The United Nations and the Autonomous Acts and their regulations use common terms to describe sanctions measures.

Using those terms, sanctions measures may include general prohibitions on:

  • making a 'sanctioned supply' of 'export sanctioned goods';
  • making a 'sanctioned import' of 'import sanctioned goods';
  • providing a 'sanctioned service';
  • engaging in a 'sanctioned commercial activity';
  • dealing with a 'designated person or entity';
  • using or dealing with a 'controlled asset'; or
  • the entry into or transit through Australia of a 'designated person' or a 'declared person'.

From an ECU perspective the following sanctions measures are most relevant to our activities:

  1. Providing a Sanctioned Service

    The sanctions prohibit "sanctioned services". The list of sanctioned services includes the provision of technical advice, assistance or training to a person from a sanctioned country if it assists with, or is provided in relation to a number of activities, which includes come activities undertaken by the University.

  2. Dealing with a Designated Person or Entity

    The sanctions impose a general prohibition on dealings with designated persons and entities. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) maintains a list of designated persons and entities (Consolidated List) which includes universities and academics.

    For more information, see the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade - Consolidated List webpage.

These sanctions measures have an impact on the University in a number of areas. The major areas that require review prior to undertaking the activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Recruitment of students in postgraduate study in certain identified fields of study;
  • Formal research collaborations in certain identified fields of study;
  • Informal collaborations in certain identified fields of study;
  • Presentations at conferences by individuals in sanctioned countries in certain identified fields of study;
  • Travel to sanctioned countries and sharing research and knowledge in certain identified fields of study;
  • The employment of individuals from sanctioned countries in certain identified fields of study or areas that have prohibited sharing of proscribed technical expertise.

Onshore Higher Degree by Research Students

Research staff need to be aware that higher degree by research (HDR) students from sanctioned countries need to be screened to ensure that their intended HDR topics do not contravene the UNSC or Australian Autonomous sanctions. To assist in this process the University has developed a HDR Compliance Assessment Form which outlines the possible sanctions applicable to students from sanctioned countries. It is suggested that Supervisors review this material prior to agreeing on a particular research topic with the student.

Supervisors need to ensure that they complete the HDR Compliance Assessment Form for all HDR applicants from sanctioned countries.  The HDR Compliance Assessment Form shall be signed by the relevant Associate Dean (Research), endorsed by the relevant Executive Dean and then be sent to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor for approval.

Offshore Higher Degree by Research Students

The same sanctions that apply to onshore HDR students apply to offshore HDR students from sanctioned countries. Supervisors need to ensure that the HDR Compliance Assessment Form is completed for all HDR applicants from sanctioned countries and approved by the relevant approvers.

All international University collaborations (research and other University agreements, arrangements and engagements) are subject to UNSC and Autonomous sanctions. As such all ECU collaborations with international partners (individuals and entities) need to be assessed for sanctions compliance.

Collaborations with Designated Individuals or Entities

The sanctions generally prohibit a person from directly or indirectly making an asset available to, or for the benefit of:

  • a 'designated person or entity';
  • a person or entity acting on behalf of, or at the direction of, a 'designated person or entity'; or
  • an entity owned or controlled by a 'designated person or entity'.

An 'asset' is an asset or property of any kind, whether tangible or intangible, movable or immovable.

Individuals and entities who have been designated do not necessarily reside in or originate from sanctioned countries, they may be from any country even Australia. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) maintains a list of the names of designated individuals and entities referred to as the Consolidated List. The Consolidated list includes the names of universities and academics that have been designated.

For more information, see the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade - Consolidated List webpage.

Prior to staff entering into a collaboration agreement with any foreign based individual or entity staff need to establish whether the person or entity is designated. Staff should complete the University Collaborations Assessment Form and send the form to Legal and Integrity who will make an initial assessment to establish whether the individual or entity is designated.  If the individual or entity is found to be designated a more comprehensive assessment with subsequent approval of the intended collaboration by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor will be required.

Alternatively staff may personally check the consolidated list to establish whether the name of the individual or entity is a match for a name on the Consolidated List. Should the name be a match for a name on the Consolidated List, they shall complete the University Collaborations Assessment Form and send this to Legal and Integrity for assessment. If the individual or entity is found to be designated a more comprehensive assessment with subsequent approval of the intended collaboration by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor will be required.

Provision of a sanctioned service to a person or entity from a sanctioned country

University collaborations with individuals or entities from sanctioned countries need to be screened to ensure that the collaboration outcomes are not captured by the UNSC or Autonomous sanctions in particular sanctions relating to the provision of a sanctioned service.

Staff considering entering into a collaboration agreement with an individual or entity from a sanctioned country shall complete the University Collaborations Assessment Form and send the form to Legal and Integrity who will conduct an initial assessment. Legal and Integrity will notify the relevant staff member about the outcome of the assessment. If Legal and Integrity's assessment is that the collaboration may breach any of the sanctions a more comprehensive assessment with subsequent approval by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor will be required.

The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor will be the authority that will formally approve or reject a collaboration or proposed collaboration with a person or entity that is found to be at risk of breaching the sanctions. No such collaboration is to continue without the formal approval of the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

The University will undertake a risk assessment of citizens from sanctioned countries applying to work at ECU to establish whether their employment may result in ECU being in breach of the UNSC or Australian Autonomous Sanctions. Staff should contact their HR Account Manager for advice in this regard.

Staff presenting at international conferences need to be aware that the same sanctions that apply in Australia will apply to them at any international destination. In presenting staff may not provide technical advice, assistance or training to a person from a sanctioned country on any of the sanctioned themes and may not deal with any person or entity.

Staff need to consider whether their intended presentation would breach any of the UNSC or Australian Autonomous sanctions. If their presentation could be in breach of any of the sanctions they will have to make reasonable enquiries with the organisers of the conference about who will be attending and then decide whether they should proceed with the presentation. These steps should be documented in an official ECU records file for audit purposes.

Staff travelling to sanctioned countries need to be aware of the sanctions that apply to that country and need to take the sanctions into consideration when planning their travel program. Staff should contact the Manager, Legal and Integrity prior to their travel to a sanctioned country if they have any queries.

For more information, on sanctions contact our Compliance, Complaints and Integrity staff.

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