The General Court has dismissed an application for annulment brought by Simone Gbagbo, Laurent Gbagbo’s wife, on 25 April 2013 (Case T-119/10).

The Court held that the reasons given for her inclusion in the EU’s sanctions relating to the Ivory Coast were sufficiently specific, and enabled her to challenge their accuracy; she is designated for being the President of the Ivorian Popular Front Group in the National Assembly, suspected of obstructing the process of peace and reconciliation.

The Court said that it did not have jurisdiction to decide whether Mr Outtara had properly been elected President, because that would involve looking into the merits of the election process in the Ivory Coast and the assessments made by international bodies.  The Court also rejected the applicant’s arguments that the Council had manifestly erred in its assessment, misused its powers and infringed her rights of defence and the principle of proportionality, and that the sanctions measures lacked sufficient procedural safeguards.

It may be interesting to compare this judgment (and that of the other judgments of the General Court’s Fifth Chamber concerning the EU’s Ivory Coast sanctions) with the Fourth Chamber’s judgments on sanctions against Iran’s nuclear programme.  The Fifth Chamber has generally rejected changes based on rights of defence and reasons in the Ivory Coast cases (where sanctions are aimed at those that obstruct the process of peace and reconciliation in that country).  The Fourth Chamber has frequently upheld reasons / rights of defence challenges in the EU’s sanctions against those involved in Iran’s nuclear programme.

Link to the judgment here.  Simone Gbagbo has appealed to the ECJ; grounds of appeal here.

This entry was posted in European Court Cases, Ivory Coast and tagged by Maya Lester. Bookmark the permalink.

About Maya Lester

Maya Lester is recommended in the legal directories as a leading junior in the fields of Administrative & Public Law, Competition & European Law, Civil Liberties & Human Rights. She was selected by The Times as one of the 10 Future Stars of the Bar in 2008, and was nominated in 2010 and 2011 for Competition/EU Junior of the Year at Chambers Bar Awards. She has particular expertise in European Union and United Nations targeted sanctions, and has represented hundreds of designated individuals and companies in the European courts. She has extensive experience of all areas of Competition and European Union law, including in relation to regulatory investigations, abuse of dominance, cartels, free movement, fundamental rights and freedoms, actions for annulment in the General Court, and references to the Court of Justice. She is described as "stellar" (Chambers & Partners 2013), "fiercely bright and hardworking" (Legal 500 2012), and a "top-notch performer" (Chambers & Partners 2011). In her wide ranging Public Law, Human Rights and Public International Law practice, Maya Lester regularly appears for and advises individuals, companies, government departments, regulators and public interest groups. She is a member of the Attorney General's B Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown and Freedom of Information Panel, and is vetted for National Security work. She is described as "a fantastic junior" in Administrative & Public Law, and "clearly very bright and focused" with "great attention to detail". Maya Lester is regularly involved in cases of an international nature, having been educated at Yale Law School (after Cambridge University), Columbia Law School (New York) as a Visiting Scholar, has spent time working at the European Court of Justice and is currently a Bingham Centre Fellow researching targeted sanctions regimes.


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