Terrorism: EU strengthens its legal arsenal against ISIL/Da’esh and Al-Qaida

On 20 September 2016, the Council of the European Union adopted a legal framework which, for the first time, will allow the EU to apply sanctions autonomously to ISIL/Da’esh and Al-Qaida and persons and entities associated or supporting them. Until now sanctions could only be applied to persons and entities listed by the United Nations or by EU member states acting individually.

The EU will be able to impose a travel ban on individuals and an asset freeze on individuals and entities that are identified as being associated with ISIL (Da’esh)/ Al-Qaida. This means that all their assets in the EU will be frozen and that EU persons and entities will also be prohibited from making any funds available to listed persons or entities.

The individuals and entities targeted include those who have participated in the planning or perpetrating of terrorist attacks or have provided ISIL (Da’esh)/ Al-Qaida with financing, oil or arms, or have received terrorist training from them. Persons or entities could also be listed for activities such as recruiting; inciting or publicly provoking acts and activities in support of these organisations, or being involved in serious abuses of human rights outside the EU, including abduction, rape, sexual violence, forced marriage and enslavement of persons.

The EU will also be able to impose restrictive measures on individuals travelling or seeking to travel both outside the EU, and into the EU, with the aim of supporting, ISIL (Da’esh)/Al-Qaida or receiving training from them. Such measures will target particularly the so-called “foreign fighters”. As a result, the EU will be able to list any person who meets the criteria – including EU nationals who have supported these organisations outside the EU and who then return. The travel ban will prevent listed persons from entering any EU member state. In the case of a listed EU national, the travel ban will prevent the listed person from travelling to any EU member state other than the member state of which that person is a national.

Upon agreement on listing proposals from member states, persons and entities will be listed through a Council decision and a Council regulation adopted unanimously.