On April 3, 2014, President Obama issued an Executive Order (EO) authorizing sanctions against certain persons found responsible for the recent violence in South Sudan. The President declared a national emergency to deal with the threat to the peace, security, and stability of South Sudan and the surrounding region. The EO gives power to the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State to block the property of any person determined to have a role in the unrest in South Sudan.

Specifically, the EO authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to block the property of any person determined to:

  • Be responsible for or complicit in, or to have engaged in, directly or indirectly, any actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, democratic processes, transitional agreements, reconciliation or peace talks, human rights (including the targeting of women and children and the recruitment of children by armed groups), or international peacekeeping efforts (including those of the United Nations);
  • Be a leader of an entity, including any government, rebel militia or other group that has engaged in any of the activities described above;
  • Have materially assisted, sponsored or provided financial, material, logistical or technological support for the activities described above; or
  • Be owned or controlled by, or to have acted on behalf of, any person whose property and interests are blocked pursuant to this EO.

The EO also prohibits donations and entry into the United States to the blocked persons. The EO does not specifically name any blocked person, but we may expect the Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) will soon add additional names to its Specially Designed Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) list.

For the time being, the South Sudan remains subject to normal export controls administered by the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security and not a country wide sanction. No changes have been made to the comprehensive U.S. sanctions on the Republic of Sudan (North Sudan).