Abdulrahim cleared of terrorism by European Court
Abdulrahim v Council and Commission (Case T‑127/09 RENV)
Judgment of the General Court of the Court of Justice of the European Union, 14 January 2015
The General Court has given its judgment in the substantive trial of Mr Abdulrahim’s application for annulment of his listing by Commission Regulation (EC) No 1330/2008 as a person associated with Al-Qaida under the Council Regulation (EC) No 881/2002. The Court has found no evidence of such association and has annulled Reg. 1330/2008 in relevant part.
Substance: This trial followed Mr Abdulrahim’s delisting by the UN Sanctions Committee (“UNSC”) and by the EU (by Regulation No 36/2011) in 2011 as well as Mr Abdulrahim establishing his right to a substantive CJEU ruling to clear his name in the landmark appeal to the Grand Chamber in Case C‑239/12 P Abdulrahim v Council and Commission in 2013 (for a link to that judgment, click here).
The General Court, applying Kadi II, has now found that that none of the allegations made against Mr Abdulrahim in the summary of reasons provided by the UNSC was such as to justify the adoption, at EU level, of restrictive measures against him.
The Court had regard to the detailed rebuttals advanced by Mr Abdulrahim in his witness statement and findings of fact made by English courts in judgments relied on by Mr Abdulrahim. The evidence advanced by the Council and Commission was found either insufficient to support the reasons relied on or lacking. This evidence included a UK Foreign Office witness statement said to be based on the fact that “officials believed that … there was a convincing case that” Mr Abdulrahim was part of a particular group and, consequently, “associated with Al-Qaida”. No information or evidence had however been adduced to support that belief.
Procedure: This judgment also concerns admissibility of applications to the CJEU and “exceptional circumstances, unforeseeable circumstances or force majeure” under Article 45 of the Statute of the Court, where the original, signed application was lost in the post. An appropriate mail delivery service had been used and the only ‘expedient’ to remedy the failure of that service was to send a version of the application bearing a second original signature, to replace the former original which was lost. This was done and the application was admissible.
Philip Moser QC represented Mr Abdulrahim.