Law No. 280-Z dated 12 July 2023 “On the Application of Special Restrictive Measures” (the Law) was published on 20 July 2023. It defines the principles and the procedure for the application of special restrictive measures, as well as measures to remove obstructions to the protection of the rights, freedoms and legal interests of Belarus in light of unfriendly actions of foreign states. Nevertheless, the Law does not apply to any relations that arise from application of other measures which have the same aims and are regulated by other legislative acts.

The Law, inter alia, defines “special restrictive measures” as special economic measures and other countermeasures not involving the use of force or threat of force, aimed at eliminating (or minimising) the negative effects of the unfriendly states’ actions.

The measures in question include:

– prohibitions or restrictions on the import or sale on the territory of Belarus of certain groups of goods;

– prohibitions or restrictions on the transit of certain groups of goods;

– prohibitions or restrictions on the import of works (or services) to Belarus from foreign states committing unfriendly actions;

– prohibitions or restrictions on the export of certain groups of goods and works (or services) from Belarus;

– prohibitions or restrictions on the use of the territory of Belarus;

– prohibitions or restrictions on financial transactions;

– postponement of the fulfillment of obligations set out in (or moratorium on) foreign trade contracts;

– postponement of the fulfillment of obligations (or moratorium on) to subjects of the special restrictive measures;

– suspension of international cooperation on the part of Belarus and/or initiation of the suspension or termination of international treaties signed by Belarus with foreign states committing unfriendly actions.

The list is not exhaustive and may also include other restrictive measures.

The measures may apply to:

  • foreign states committing unfriendly actions against the Republic of Belarus, and their citizens and/or legal entities;
  • other persons connected and/or under the control of the foreign states specified.

The Belarusian government will decide whether to apply or to cancel special restrictive measures in the form of a resolution. The Law also specifies the requirements for the application of the measures.

The Law, in a similar manner to the “Lugovoy Law” adopted in the Russian Federation (articles 248.1-248.2 of the Arbitrazh Procedural Code), also envisages the exclusive jurisdiction of Belarusian courts in disputes where at least one of the following is true:

  • to which Belarusian governmental bodies, legal entities, individual entrepreneurs or citizens (Belarusian persons), which have been subject to unfriendly actions, are party;
  • whose subject matter concerns unfriendly actions in relation to Belarusian persons (Sanctions Disputes).

In Sanctions Disputes, Belarusian persons have the right of recourse to the economic courts of the region (the city of Minsk) for dispute resolution, provided that a dispute between the same parties and with the same subject matter is being considered before a foreign court or foreign arbitration court (foreign court).

The Law also sets forth the possibility for Belarusian persons to apply to the economic court of the region (the city of Minsk) in order to prohibit the other party from initiating or continuing proceedings before a foreign court, as with the so-called “anti-suit injunction”, if:

– proceedings in the Sanctions Disputes are initiated in relation to Belarusian persons;

– there is evidence that proceedings in Sanctions Disputes will be initiated

Based on the results of consideration of the application, the court makes a decision to prohibit or refuse to prohibit the party from initiating or continuing proceedings before a foreign court. The decision is subject to immediate enforcement and may be appealed (or protested) in accordance with the procedure established by law.

The Law enters into force on 31 July 2023.

Our Commercial & Regulatory and Dispute Resolution & Risk Management practice group teams would be happy to assist with any further questions with reference to the above. Contact us for any questions: