On 27 February 2014, the General Court of the European Union (the “EGC”) ruled on the legality of the Egyptian sanctions regime in the case of Ezz and Others v Council (Case T- 256/11). The decision is now publicly available and provides useful guidance as to the EGC’s interpretation of individual responsibility.
Council Decision 2011/172/CFSP of 21 March 2011 (as amended) imposed asset freezes and travel bans on individuals identified as “responsible for misappropriation of Egyptian State funds.” The EGC, responding to challenges by former parliamentary member Ahmed Abeldaziz Ezz and others, found against the applicants on all eight grounds of their challenge and dismissed their application for annulment.
The concept of “responsible individual” was interpreted widely by the EGC to include the following categories of individual:
- those found guilty of misappropriating state funds, and their accomplices, following a criminal trial;
- those prosecuted for misappropriating state funds, or for acting as an accomplice to such misappropriation; and
- those subject to any judicial proceeding connected to criminal proceedings for misappropriating state funds.