EU Court dismisses complaints against Syria asset-freeze list
MOSCOW, September 13 (RAPSI) – The Council of the European Union (Council) acted properly in including a Syrian army officer and a leading businessman in a list connected with a freeze of the funds and economic resources of certain individuals and entities seen to be connected to violence in Syria, the General Court of the European Union (Court) held in opting to dismiss a related complaint Friday.
The Council adopted certain restrictive measures in May 2011 as a means of urging Syrian authorities to refrain from the use of force in the context of the protests that would eventually spiral into the full-scale civil war of present.
Included amongst the restrictions was a freeze of the funds and economic resources of individuals seen as responsible for the violence.
According to the court’s statement, Syrian lieutenant-colonel Eyad Makhlouf was included on the list, based on the following note: “Brother of Rami Makhlouf and General Intelligence Directorate Officer involved in violence against the civilian population.”
In September, the list was expanded to include individuals and entities seen to be supporting or benefiting from the regime. As such, businessman Issam Anbouba was added to the list, with information that he had provided economic support for the Syrian authorities. In May 2012, the following note was added: “Providing financial support for the repressive apparatus and the paramilitary groups exerting violence against the civil population in Syria. Providing property (premises, warehouses) for improvised detention centres. Financial relations with high Syrian officials.”
Both men challenged their inclusion on the list.
The Court chose to dismiss their claims Friday. According to the accompanying statement: “The Court holds that the Council did not infringe those two persons’ rights of defence or their right to effective judicial protection by adopting the measures in question.”
Among other things, the Court held that the Council had adequately fulfilled its duty to state reasons for their inclusion. The Court further concluded that the Council had acted legitimately in assuming that a leading businessman in Syria supported the regime, reasoning: “The Court states that, in the light of the authoritarian nature of the Syrian regime and of the close control that the State exercises over the Syrian economy, the Council was justified in taking the view that the activities of one of the principal Syrian businessmen, operating in numerous sectors, could not have succeeded without enjoying the favours of that regime and in return providing a level of support for that regime.”