EU Courts and Iran SanctionsPosted: July 25, 2013
This is a good new piece reviewing the wave of court judgments in the EU striking down designations of individuals and businesses for financial sanctions, in implementation of UN Security Council resolutions. The basic problem is that the EU governments are unwilling to furnish evidence for these designations, and even when they do, as in judicial proceedings in the UK, the evidence is found to be lacking.
This is essentially the same basis on which the EU courts, even more famously, have struck down designations of individuals for sanctions in implementation of UN Security Council decisions regarding terrorism. The Kadi case is one of the leading cases in this area. My friend Antonios Tzanakopoulos has written a couple of great pieces on the Kadi cases (see here and here), including the final judgment on the appeal of the EU governments, which was just handed down a few days ago.
In all of these cases, the EU courts are being consistent in their protection of the rights of the designees, based in fundamental principles of due process. No one should be subject to legal action by a government depriving them of life, freedom, or property, without due process of law, which includes having the evidence against them presented and reviewed by a court, and subject to proper evaluation for both soundness and sufficiency. The plea by governments of the necessity of secrecy of sources of evidence cannot and must not be allowed to overcome this basic requirement of any developed legal system.
In summary, the Security Council can’t just point its finger at anyone it decides to, and have those individuals and businesses financially sanctioned in domestic courts in the EU. Fortunately, the EU requires proper due process for legal sanction, and so far EU governments have in many cases failed to meet this requirement in both the Iran sanctions and terrorism sanctions contexts.
I only wish US courts held US government action to such high standards.