On 14 January 2015 the General Court handed down its judgment in Abdulrahim.
Abdulrahim concerned an application for annulment of Regulation 881/2002, as amended by Regulation 1330/2008, or of Regulation 1330/2008 (establishing restrictive measures against persons and entities associated with Usama bin Laden, the Al-Qaida network and the Taliban). The Commission raised an objection of inadmissibility. Subsequently, Mr Abdulrahim's name was removed from the relevant sanctions list.
The General Court held that there was no longer any need to adjudicate on the application for annulment, and that it was consequently unnecessary to rule on its admissibility. Mr Abdulrahim appealed against the order of no need to adjudicate. The Court of Justice set aside the order of no need to adjudicate and referred the case back to the General Court for it to rule again on Mr Abdulrahim’s action for annulment.
The General Court held:
- On the admissibility of the annulment application, that the objection of inadmissibility was rejected. Unforeseen circumstances, in the shape of a delay due to the postal service used, had caused the application to be filed out of time. The fact that a more expensive, faster, tracked service could have been used was irrelevant. The postal service used had been a reputedly reliable one, and the applicant's lawyers had acted swiftly to resend the application by an alternative service as soon as it transpired that the original service had failed to deliver the application.
- On the substance of the action for annulment, that the principles in Kadi II applied. The court had to ensure that the listing decision had been taken on a sufficiently solid factual basis, which entailed a verification of the factual allegations in the summary of reasons underpinning that decision. Mr Abdulrahim's alleged association with Al-Qaida had been assumed on the basis on his links with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and on the LIFG's association with Al-Qaida. This assumption was not well founded on the facts: Mr Abdulrahim had been a LIFG member well before the LIFG became associated with Al-Qaida. Moreover, on several occasions the English courts had refused to find that the fact that an individual was linked to the LIFG automatically proved that that individual was linked to Al-Qaida. In addition, the more specific grounds against Mr Abdulrahim were either insufficiently detailed or specific to meet the requirements inherent in the obligation to state reasons and in effective judicial review, or were not supported by information or evidence on the basis of which it could be established that they were well founded in fact. Overall, therefore, the summary of reasons did not establish to the requisite legal standard that Mr Abdulrahim was materially linked to Al-Qaida on the date of his listing. Regulation 1330/2008 should be annulled in so far as it applied to him.