CJEU T‐248/13 / Judgment

Mohammed Al‐Ghabra v. European Commission
Policy area
Foreign and security policy
Deciding body type
Court of Justice of the European Union
Deciding body
The General Court (Third Chamber)
Decision date
ECLI (European case law identifier)
  • CJEU T‐248/13 / Judgment

    Key facts of the case:

    (Common foreign and security policy — Restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities associated with Usama bin Laden, the Al-Qaeda network and the Taliban — Regulation (EC) No 881/2002 — Freezing of the funds and economic resources of a person included on a list drawn up by a United Nations body — Inclusion of that person’s name on the list in Annex I to Regulation No 881/2002 — Action for annulment — Reasonable time — Obligation to verify and justify the merits of the grounds relied on — Judicial review)

    Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:

    On those grounds, THE GENERAL COURT (Third Chamber) hereby:

    1. Dismisses the action as inadmissible in so far as it seeks annulment of Commission Regulation (EC) No 14/2007 of 10 January 2007 amending for the 74th time Council Regulation (EC) No 881/2002 imposing certain specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities associated with Usama Bin Laden, the Al-Qaida network and the Taliban, and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 467/2001, in so far as it concerns Mr Mohammed Al-Ghabra;
    2. Dismisses the action as unfounded as to the remainder;
    3. Orders Mr Al-Ghabra to bear his own costs and to pay those incurred by the European Commission;
    4. Orders the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Council of the European Union to bear their own costs.
  • Paragraphs referring to EU Charter (original language)
    1. In the reply, the applicant also emphasises the gravity of the impact of the restrictive measures on designated individuals, which justifies an exacting standard of proof to avoid the risk of infringement of Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (‘the Charter’) and of Article 6 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, signed in Rome on 4 November 1950 (‘the ECHR’). In that context, the applicant maintains that the standard of proof required is practically indistinguishable from that required in criminal matters, despite the proceedings in question not being strictly of a criminal character. He invites the General Court to adopt the approach taken by the Court of Appeal (England & Wales) in Gough & Anor v Chief Constable of Derbyshire [2002] EWCA Civ 351, in which a person was subject to a travel ban because of his alleged propensity to engage in football-related violence.
    1. The applicant further submits that the General Court ought not to rely on findings adverse to the applicant made in United Kingdom court proceedings to which the applicant was not a party and against which he was accordingly unable to defend himself. As regards the claim made by the United Kingdom that those court proceedings were compliant with Article 6 of the ECHR and Article 47 of the Charter, the applicant responds that, while that may be true with regard to the individuals concerned, it is not so in his case since he was not even a party to those proceedings.
    1. As regards the applicant’s argument, summarised in paragraph 133 above, that the General Court should not take into account the findings of the United Kingdom courts in proceedings to which he was not a party, the Commission correctly observes that, to the extent that the findings in question serve to show that there are reasonable grounds to suspect, or even to believe, that the applicant is associated with Al-Qaida, and thus to substantiate the allegations in the statement of reasons, they are relevant and may be taken into account by this Court. The Commission is also fully entitled to argue that those findings may be afforded particular weight by this Court, given that they are the findings of a national court with jurisdiction in judicial proceedings conducted in accordance with Article 6 of the ECHR and Article 47 of the Charter.