EU court refuses damages in Jannatian case

The General Court of the EU has dismissed Mahmoud Jannatian’s application for damages arising from his listing on the EU’s targeted Iran sanctions – Case T-328/14 Jannatian v Council [2016].

There are a number of interesting aspects of the judgment:

  1. Mr Jannatian had been de-listed by the time of the judgment; he was originally included in 2010 because he was the Deputy Head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI), when in fact he had not held that role since 2007. Although the fact that his name had already been removed did not mean he no longer had an interest in the proceedings, the applicant had asked the court not adjudicate on the annulment. The issue was his entitlement to damages from 2008 – 2015.
  2. The Court said (for the first time) that it had no jurisdiction to rule on damage resulting from the travel ban, as opposed to the asset freeze, given that it was an act relating purely to EU foreign policy.
  3. The Court said (again for the first time) that the purpose of the listing criteria in EU restrictive measures is “to protect the interests of the individuals concerned, by limiting the cases of application, extent or degree of the restrictive measures that may lawfully be imposed on those individuals”.
  4. In principle, damages were available arising from an asset freeze if there were a sufficiently serious breach of EU law causing damage; the provisions were intended to confer rights on individuals and the Council did not have any discretion as to whether to observe the applicant’s fundamental rights.
  5. There was a breach of EU law here because Mr Jannatian’s inclusion was based on an error (that he was Deputy head of AEOI, when he was not) and the EU had not showed that he had continuing links with the AEOI. The Court said that would not have been a sufficiently serious mistake when he was first listed, but maintaining his designation for 7 years despite the Council being told that it was incorrect was sufficiently serious; “an administrative authority exercising ordinary care and diligence would … have understood that it was for it to verify” whether the reasons given were well founded when deciding whether to re-list him.
  6. But the Court found that no damage was suffered from the asset freeze; the applicant had no evidence hat he could not carry out bank transfers, and he had not claimed in time damage to reputation (which would be compensated in any case by a finding that the measures were unlawful).
This entry was posted in European Court Cases, Iran by Maya Lester QC. Bookmark the permalink.

About Maya Lester QC

Maya Lester QC has a wide ranging practice in public law, European law, competition law, international law, human rights & civil liberties. She has a particular expertise in sanctions. As the most recent (2016) Chambers & Partners directory put it, she "owns the world of sanctions". She spent 2011-12 in New York at Columbia Law School lecturing and writing on sanctions. She represents and advises hundreds of companies and individuals before the European and English courts and has acted in most of the leading cases, including Kadi, Tay Za, Central Bank of Iran, NITC and IRISL.

Please Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s