The European Union’s General Court annuls the regulation freezing funds of individuals on UN Sanctions list
On 30 September 2010, the General Court of the European Union has annulled the EU regulation ordering the freezing of the funds and other economic assets of persons designated by the Sanctions Committee of the United Nations Security Council as being associated with Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda or the Taliban. In accordance with a number of the United Nations Security Council resolutions, all Member States must freeze the funds and assets of persons controlled directly and indirectly by Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. In order to comply with those regulations, the Council of the European Communities adopted a regulation (the EU Regulation) ordering the freezing of the funds and other economic assets of persons whose name appears in the list annexed to the EU Regulation.
Yassin Abdullah Kadi, a Saudi Arabian national designated by the UN Security Council as an associate of Osama Bin-Laden and Al-Qaeda, was put on the list on October 17, 2001. An action for annulment against the EU Regulation was dismissed by the Court of First Instance of the European Union (now the General Court) in September of 2005 on the ground that Member States are obliged to comply with resolutions of the UN Security Council under the Charter of the UN, an international treaty which has primacy over Community law. On appeal, the European Court of Justice held in September 2008 that Community courts have jurisdiction to review measures adopted by the Community which gave effect to resolutions of the UN Security Council and set aside the judgment of the General court. Thereafter, the European Commission adopted a new regulation on 28 November of 2008 (“the 2008 Regulation”), maintaining the freeze of Mr.Kadi’s funds. Mr. Kadi sought annulment of this new regulation before the General Court.
In its judgment annulling the 2008 regulation in so far as it concerns Mr. Kadi, the General Court found that the new regulation was adopted in breach of Mr.Kadi’s rights to defense and effective judicial review under EU law.
The full text of the judgment (Case T-85/09) is available on the General Court's website.