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Key judgment on evidence and standard of reasons in sanctions cases: LTTE (Tamil Tigers) v Council


General Court judgment of 16 October 2014

The General Court has today given a detailed judgment refining the duty on the Council to base its decisions on evidence and to give sufficient reasons for its decisions in the context of listing the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) as an organisation concerned in terrorism under the relevant EU sanctions regime relating to Sri Lanka.

In its judgment in Joined Cases T-208/11 and others LTTE v Council, the Court annulled the Council’s decision on the ground that the Council had not based its decision on a sufficiently verified factual basis. The Court emphasised that, in the absence of its own investigatory powers, the Council is obliged to base such fund-freezing decisions on information which has previously been specifically examined and upheld in decisions of competent national authorities within the meaning of Common Position 2001/931. The General Court held that the Council had failed to set out such a sufficient factual basis in the present case.

The Court emphasised that its finding, based on procedural grounds, does not imply any substantive assessment of the question of the classification of the LTTE as a terrorist group within the meaning of Common Position 2001/931. It ordered that the effects of the Council’s decision were to be maintained temporarily, to ensure, amongst other things, the effectiveness of any future freezing of funds.

The judgment is here.

The general court press release is here.

Margaret Gray was counsel for the United Kingdom.