Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on export authorisation in 2020 pursuant to the Regulation concerning trade in certain goods which could be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

On 22 October 2021, the European Commission, pursuant to art. 26 of Regulation (EU) 2019/125, known as Anti-Torture Regulation, published the annual report comprised of the annual activity reports made available by the Member States (MS) providing information on their authorisation activities concerning exports of goods in 2020 that could be used for torture or for capital punishment (number of applications received, the goods and countries concerned by these applications, and the decisions taken on these applications).

The Anti-Torture Regulation prohibits (Chapter II of the Regulation):

  • the trade (export, import, transit, brokering, training, advertising) of goods which have no practical use other than for the purposes of capital punishment, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (goods listed in Annex II);

While it submits to an authorisation requirement (Chapters III-IV of the Regulation) the export of:

  • Goods, listed in Annex III, that could be used for the purpose of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (art. 11(1) of the Regulation).

E.g. weapons and equipment disseminating incapacitating or irritating chemical substances for the purpose of riot control or self-protection;

  • Goods, listed in Annex IV, that could be used for the purpose of capital punishment (art. 16(1) of the Regulation).

E.g. certain chemicals that could be used in lethal injections;

All MS have reported on the number of export authorisations granted and refused in 2020 under Articles 11(1) and 16(1) and on the goods and countries of destination in question.

The total number of reported export authorisations amounted to 247, with Switzerland as first destination, followed by Japan (32 and 15 exports, respectively; see Annex 5 to the Report).

These authorisations were granted by 11 MS, with Germany in first place with 160 issued export authorisations, while the others reported that they had not received any applications (see Annex 4 to the Report).

The cases of denial for an export authorisation were 23 and concerned certain intended transactions with customers in Algeria, Andorra, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Iraq, Malaysia, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.

These unauthorised transactions primarily involved goods listed in Annex III (19 out of the 23 denials; see Annex 2 to the Report), in particular, portable weapons and equipment for the administration or dissemination of a dose of an incapacitating or irritating chemical substance.

For further information, please find here below the list of annexes to the report proving more detailed data and graphs on the applications for export authorisation:

  • Annex 1 to this report provides information on the number of export authorisations granted by the national competent authorities in 2020, by category of goods (Annexes III and IV to the Regulation). Exports under the Union General Export Authorisation (Annex V) are not included in the information on the number of authorisations granted.
  • Annex 2 provides information on the number of reported export authorisations and denials by category of goods (Annexes III and IV).
  • Annex 3 provides information on the number of applications authorised and denied over the period 2017-2020.
  • Annex 4 provides information on the number of reported export authorisations issued by Member States.
  • Annex 5 provides information on the main reported destinations of authorised exports.
  • Annex 6 summarises the information provided to the Commission on the reported end- use of authorised exports in 2020.
  • Annexes 7 and 8 provide an overview of the goods authorised for export, their destinations and their reported end-use.

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