News / Europe

EU sanctions on Russians Could Face Challenge in Court

A member of a pro-Russian self defence unit swears an oath to the pro-Russia Crimea regional government in Simferopo, March 13, 2014.
A member of a pro-Russian self defence unit swears an oath to the pro-Russia Crimea regional government in Simferopo, March 13, 2014.
Reuters
The European Union is taking extra care in drawing up sanctions against Russia over Crimea to avoid legal loopholes that could allow targeted officials to challenge them in court, as happened with measures against Iran's nuclear program.
 
If, as expected, EU foreign ministers approve a list on Monday of people, firms or institutions they blame for harming the territorial integrity of Ukraine, the bloc may still have to defend the measures in court, legal experts and diplomats say.
 
But those hoping to sue to get their names off the list may have a tough case to make.
 
EU officials have already started drawing up the list after agreeing the framework this week for measures to freeze assets and impose travel bans. The final decision will only come after Sunday's referendum held by pro-Moscow authorities in Crimea on bringing the Ukrainian Black Sea province under Moscow's rule.
 
Washington has announced similar plans for travel bans and asset freezes and also has yet to unveil its target list.
 
In the past, Brussels has lost cases in EU court over sanctions imposed on Iranian firms when targeted companies successfully asserted that Brussels had not proven their involvement in Iran's nuclear program. Those cases became a headache for Brussels although they did not substantially weaken the overall sanctions program.
 
EU diplomats say the bloc's lawyers have pressed them to make sure that the names they include on the Russia list will stand up in court. Proof must be provided that those on the list were responsible for “actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine”, as spelled out in the framework approved this week.
 
“The legal services said sanctions must be legally watertight and there must be a clear link between the framework and the subject,” one diplomat said.
 
Another said: “The crux is to match the names with the criteria and to have the evidence.”
 
One lawyer with a private firm in London who has represented people targeted by EU sanctions in the past said the push for sanctions on Russians had generated many inquiries about the potential impact and legal standing of the measures.
 
The lawyer said the wording of the sanctions framework over Russia may make it easier for Brussels to defend legal challenges from Russians than it proved in the case of Iran.
 
Domestic politics in Russia would make it hard for officials to assert that they opposed President Vladimir Putin's Ukraine policy, said the lawyer, speaking on condition of anonymity because of prior involvement in sanctions cases.
 
“My hunch is it could be difficult to win such cases,” the lawyer said, “It is legitimate to assume that anyone in government is part of government policy unless they distance themselves. And they may not want to do that.”

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
March 13, 2014 8:55 PM
Putin should be top of the list for travel ban anywhere in the world but Russia. He will have to have his holidays in Iran, Syria, or China. Shame on Putin for being responsible for so many deaths in Chechnya, Moscow Siege, Georgia, Syria... Perhaps an Interpol warrant isn't asking for much.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid