In the context of five appeals against different orders of the General Court which dismissed the applications lodged by the parties concerned against measures adopted by the Council as part of a process of re-establishing peace and security in the region of Côte d’Ivoire under the auspices of the Security Council of the United Nations, the Court of Justice is given the opportunity to develop its case-law on the right to effective judicial protection guaranteed by the European Union in respect of acts of its institutions imposing this type of measure.
Unlike the cases settled by the judgments of 3 September 2008 in Kadi and Al Barakaat International Foundation v Council and Commission, (2) and of 16 November 2011 in Bank Melli Iran v Council, (3) in these cases, the Court of Justice is not asked to rule on the legality of the decisions adopting certain restrictive measures against the applicants, but on the lawfulness of the decisions of the General Court dismissing their actions against those measures.
I will state that, in my opinion, given the special circumstances of the case, the applicants had to be given the opportunity to make representations before the General Court inter partes, with regard to both the point when they in fact became aware of the measures affecting them, and to any circumstances of force majeure, in accordance with what is allowed by Article 113 of the Rules of Procedure of that Court, so leading to the second of the two grounds on which these appeals are formulated being upheld. In other words, I consider that, in my opinion and in these circumstances, the General Court erred in law when it immediately dismissed those applications as ‘manifestly’ out of time, solely by looking at the relevant documents instituting the proceedings, in accordance with Article 111 of those Rules of Procedure.
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
Uphold the second ground of the appeal, and consequently,
Set aside the orders of the General Court of 13 July 2011 which dismissed the applications lodged under Cases T-/348/11 to T‑352/11.
Refer the proceedings back to the General Court for a decision on the admissibility of the applications, after hearing representations from the parties pursuant to Article 113 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Court.