This newsletter covers export control and sanctions legislation and other publications of the Dutch government and case law of Dutch courts of the first quarter of 2020.
On 31 January 2020 the most recent version of the Circular Weapons & Ammunition 2019 (“Circulaire Wapens & Munitie 2019“) was published in the Dutch Government Gazette (“Staatscourant“). Article 1.4.5 of the Circular contains definitions of three types of export control-related actions: “doen binnenkomen“, “doen uitgaan” and “doorvoer“: importing, exporting and transiting. For the defintions of these actions, the Circular refers to the Weapons & Ammunition Act (“Wet Wapens & Munitie“).
Jurisprudence / Case Law by Dutch courts
On 28 January 2020 the Attorney General of the Dutch Supreme Court wrote a conclusion in a case about the transit of military goods to Ecuador without an export license. One of the issues discussed in this case was related to (conditional) intent, during economic crimes, on the side of the suspect. The advice of the Attorney General in this case was to set aside the judgment of the court and to referred the case back to the Court of Appeal. On 3 February 2020 a case concerning an appeal against the rejection of an export license of the District Court of North Holland was published. The court ruled that the appeal was well founded: the Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation had not given sufficient reasons for the rejection of the license. On 7 February 2020, in two separate cases (one and two), the Court of Limburg imposed a measure of confiscation against two legal entities (Euroturbine B.V. in Venlo and Euroturbine SPC in Bahrain) for EUR 600,000 and EUR 4,000,000 respectively for a violation of export control-related rules. The amount of the confiscation was based on the advantages the entities obtained because of the illegal export of dual-use goods (i.e. gas turbine components) to Iran, without a license. These measures are the highest confiscation measures imposed for export control matters in the Netherlands to date.
On 7 April 2020, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled in a case regarding the extradition of an Iranian person to the United States of America (“US”) because of a violation of US sanction law and the export of dual-use goods to Iran. The Dutch Supreme Court dismissed the appeal on the grounds that the extradition request fulfils all requirements and is not contrary to Dutch law. The so-called “Blocking Statute” does not provide for an exemption in this regard. A couple of weeks earlier – on 25 February 2020 – the Opinion of the Advocate-General in this case was also published.
Publications by the Dutch government and House of Representatives
On 3 February 2020 the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and the Minister for Foreign Affairs sent a letter to the Speaker of the Dutch House of Representatives. In this letter the ministers discuss the involvement of Dutch companies in the deployment of surveillance goods and technology during incidents human rights are violated. On 21 February 2020 the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and the Minister for Foreign Affairs sent a letter to the Speaker of the Dutch House of Representatives. In this letter the ministers give a follow-up about three by the house adopted motions regarding arms exports. On 9 March 2020 the Dutch Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation sent a letter to the Speaker of the Dutch House of Representatives about an export license of military equipment to Qatar. On 13 March 2020 the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation answered parliamentary questions of members of the Dutch House of Representatives about the UN report that several countries are violating the UN arms embargo on Libya. On 1 April 2020 the answers of the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy to parliamentary questions of members of the Dutch House of Representatives regarding the message “Chip sector crashed after leaked American plans” were published.
Report of export of military goods
Every month, the Dutch government publishes a list of approved export licences of military goods. The export of, for example, rifles, ammunition and warships can endanger international security. Therefore, companies must apply for a license to export these military goods. Whether the license is issued depends, among other things, on the destination and the end user. The Dutch government therefore publishes monthly overviews of the approved licences. The goods that are subject to a license obligation are listed in the Common Military List of the European Union (“EU“). The Ministry of Foreign Affairs publishes a monthly overview of the approved licenses. The overviews state: which goods are involved, what the end use is, what the goods are worth; and what the country of origin and destination is. The names of the exporter and the end user are not published. This information is important to identify which goods are exported from the Netherlands. The monthly overviews are added every month to a file, which has been updated since 2004. The last update was published on 30 March 2020.
Each year, the Dutch government publishes an overview of applications for the export, transit and brokering of military goods and dual-use goods with military end-use that were rejected in the past year. On 15 January 2020 the Dutch government published a historical overview of all rejected applications since 2004 until 31 December 2019.
If you want more information regarding one of the topics of this newsletter, you can contact BenninkAmar Advocaten at: +31 (0)20 308 5918 or firstname.lastname@example.org.