Legal basis for corporate sanctions compliance

The primary responsibility for implementing UN sanctions lies with states and their legislators and regulatory authorities. Companies must follow these national rules.

In practice a company with operations in multiple countries must therefore be aware and comply with all laws and regulations of all jurisdictions in which it operates, or to which it connects with its products and services. Many US or European companies, for example, face the even more restrictive autonomous measure of their own sanctions regimes. Under these circumstances, a particular business activity with a local counterpart in a country may cause no concerns from a UN perspective while placing it in the crosshairs of unilateral or other international sanctions.

Because of the multilayered sanctions world beyond UN regimes, it is not advisable for a corporate compliance officer to solely focus on UN sanctions compliance obligations. For enterprises, which operate across multiple industries and countries with subsidiaries, affiliates and partnerships, the compliance structure must take all obligations into account, ranging from national laws and regulations, trade controls, national and multilateral sanctions, as well as voluntary principles adopted by industry groups.