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Today, the Constitutional Committee decided to send a Bill on using Russia’s assets, frozen under international sanctions, to compensate for the war damages caused to Ukraine to its second reading at the plenary assembly.

The Bill on Amendments to the International Sanctions Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (332 SE) creates a national mechanism to ensure the financial liability of the aggressor state for damage caused by the most serious violations of international law. The amendment will enable the use of assets of individuals and companies that have contributed to Russia’s illegal acts, and frozen under the sanctions, as an advance payment for damages owed by Russia to Ukraine. The Bill also specifies the competences of state agencies in the implementation of international sanctions and provides them with a clearer legal basis for the implementation and monitoring of sanctions.

The Committee made seven amendments to the Bill before the second reading, including an amendment setting out the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the body who decides on the use of assets as an advance payment for the damages by administrative procedure. The initial wording had set out the administrative court as the receiver of the applications.

The Bill provides that the decision on the use of assets as an advance payment for the damages must be based on the fact that the unlawful act has caused provable damage, which must be compensated for under international law, and that the foreign state who has sustained the damage has submitted a relevant request to the foreign state which has caused the damage, but the latter has failed to meet the request within a reasonable term. In order to launch the proceedings on the use of the assets in Estonia, a relevant request must be submitted to Estonia and the conditions for the use of the assets as an advance payment of damages and for assigning the right of claim to the owner of the assets must have been agreed on with the requesting state. In addition, the link between the owner of the assets and the unlawful act must be sufficiently proven.

Under the amendments to the Bill, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must determine all the facts relating to the assets and their ownership status, and make sure that there are no special circumstances that would set the individual’s interests above the need to apply this measure. The owner of the assets would have the right to contest the decision in administrative court.

The Bill was initiated by the Government and passed the first reading in the Riigikogu in mid-November. Before sending the Bill to the second reading, the Constitutional Committee discussed the introduction of a relevant regulation and its importance with national law and banking experts, foreign policy experts, and representatives of the courts.

The Constitutional Committee proposed the second reading of the Bill for next Wednesday, May 8.

Riigikogu Press Service
Karin Kangro
+372 631 6356, +372 520 0323
[email protected]
Questions: [email protected]