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

    Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora