The Italian sanctions regime is defined by Italy’s membership of the EU and basically implements the economic sanctions imposed by the UN and the EU itself.  The UN imposes sanctions by way of Resolutions.  UN sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter are implemented by the EU on behalf of EU Member States, including Italy. The EU can also impose its own economic and financial sanctions (see here).

Legislative Decree no. 109 of June 22, 2007 provides the framework for implementing UN/EU financial sanctions against the financing of terrorism and activities threatening peace and international security.

Legislative Decree no. 221 of December 15, 2017 provides the framework for implementing trade embargoes and the rules for the export of dual-use items and items suitable to be used for torture or death penalty.

Italy also maintains a specific export control regime on military items under Law no. 185 of July 9, 1990.

Pending the adoption of sanctions by the UN, Italy may autonomously adopt asset freeze and fund blocking measures against individuals and entities to prevent the financing of terrorism, mass destruction weapon proliferation programmes or any conduct threatening peace and international security.  Such measures (“national lists”) can be adopted under Article 4-bis Decree 109/2007 and shall comply with the obligations set by UN Resolutions and EU restrictive measures.  In particular, the Ministry of Economy and Finance (Ministero dell’Economia e delle Finanze), acting upon the proposal of the Financial Security Committee (Comitato di Sicurezza Finanziaria), may freeze funds and economic resources held by designated entities or subjects, according to the criteria established in the UN Resolutions or in the national lists.  Such ministerial decrees remain in force for six months, unless otherwise established in the decree itself, and cease to have effect once the relevant EU measures  are published in the Official Journal of the EU.

The EU/UN lists of designated subjects, as well as the lists issued by other institutions such as the US Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC) are published on the website of the Financial Information Unit (Unità di Informazione Finanziaria).

Administrative fines apply in case of violation of financial sanctions adopted either by the EU or Italy, and criminal liability may also arise for the individuals responsible for the breach. Legislative Decree No. 221/2017 imposes criminal penalties (only against individuals) in connection with exporting goods in violation of trade restrictions (see here).

More topics in this series