On 13 November, the General Court of the European Union (Seventh Chamber) annulled the inclusion of Aiman Jaber, Khaled Kaddour, and Mohamad Hamcho in the EU’s sanctions list on Syria. All three applicants were implicated as associates of General Maher Al Assad, President Bashar Al Assad’s brother, and as active supporters of the Syrian regime.
The General Court criticised the Council for relying only on press reports to substantiate its case and held that the Council had failed to establish that the reasons relied on against the applicants were well founded. In reaching its decision, the General Court relied on the European Court of Justice’s (the “ECJ”) interpretation of Article 47 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (in respect of a fair trial and effective remedy) in Kadi II. The ECJ in that case held that applicants challenging a listing are not required to disprove the reasons advanced by the Council in favour of that listing. The burden of proof lies instead with the European Union authority responsible for the listing.