LUXEMBOURG, (Reuters) – The EU infringed the rights of a Saudi businessman by following a U.N. order to put him on a terror blacklist, an EU adviser said on Wednesday in a new legal setback for the European sanctions regime.
EU Advocate General Poiares Maduro advised the bloc to annul a regulation freezing the funds of Yassin Kadi, 52, who had been included on a U.N. list of individuals suspected of supporting Osama bin Laden directly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Arguing that the United Nations itself had no mechanism to review its own blacklist, Maduro said the European Union should have studied Kadi’s case itself before adding him to its list.
“The Community cannot dispense with proper judicial review proceedings when implementing (U.N.) Security Council proceedings,” said an EU Court of Justice statement detailing Maduro’s reasoning.
“Advocate General Poiares Maduro concludes that the regulation in question infringes Mr Kadi’s right to property, his right to be heard, and his right to effective judicial review,” it said. Kadi is also known as Yassin al-Qadi.
The opinion of the advocate general is not binding but is followed by the court in most cases. Maduro proposed that the EU Court of Justice now rule directly on whether Kadi’s fundamental rights had been infringed.
The advice by a senior legal expert is the second direct challenge to the EU’s terror sanctions regime in 13 months.
The European Court of First Instance in December 2006 annulled an EU move to put Iranian resistance group, the People’s Mujahideen Organisation of Iran (PMOI), on a separate blacklist, ruling it had not given the group a fair hearing or adequate reasons.
The EU argues that ruling was based on a technicality and has kept the PMOI on a new version of its list. The PMOI, which has bases in Iraq and is the armed wing of the France-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), is appealing.