EU renews targeted Libya sanctions

The EU has renewed its sanctions on people said to be obstructing implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement and the formation of a Government of National Accord in Libya.  These sanctions, first imposed in April 2016 (see previous blog), currently list 3 people:

  1. Agila Saleh – president of the Libyan Council of Deputies in the House of Representatives
  2. Khalifa Ghweil – prime minister and defence minister of the internationally unrecognised General National Congress
  3. Nuri Abu Sahmain – president of the General National Congress.

See Decision 2017/621 amending Decision 2015/1333. The EU’s press release is here, and its notices to listed people are here and here.

EU court annuls Libya sanctions on Quaddafi’s daughter

The General Court of EU has today held that the re-inclusion of Aisha Quaddafi on the EU’s targeted Libya sanctions in 2014 (implementing UN listings) was unlawful because the EU institutions had not explained why being Colonel Quaddafi’s daughter and alleged closeness to his regime justified her re-inclusion in 2014.  See Case T-681/14. She was out of time to challenge her original 2011 listing.  The Court said that even if it were relevant that supporters of the former regime continued to play “a role in the current situation in Libya and were involved in attacks against civilians”, the EU had not explained her “individual, specific and concrete role” in those events that could have justified her re-listing.

EU renews Libya sanctions on 3 people obstructing its unity government

The EU has renewed the listings of 3 people listed under its sanctions on Libya for 6 months.  The 3 people are Agila Gwaider, President of the Libyan Council of Deputies in the House of Representatives, Khalifa Ghwell, previously Prime Minister of Libya’s rival parliament in Tripoli the General National Congress, and Nuri Abu Sahmain, previously its President.  They were first listed in April this year for allegedly opposing the internationally recognised unity government in Libya (see previous blog).  In addition, the EU has updated the reasons for their listings.

See Implementing Regulation 2016/1752 implementing Regulation 2016/44 and Decision 2016/1755 amending Decision 2015/1333.

EU Court dismisses Libya case – T-485/15 Alsharghawi

The General Court of the EU has dismissed Bashir Alsharghawi’s application for his listing on the EU’s Libya sanctions to be annulled, where he was included for being “closely associated with the former regime of Muammar Qadhafi”.  See Case T-485/15 Alsharghawi v Council (20 September 2016).

The Court said Mr Alsharghawi had not submitted any evidence capable of calling into question the facts presented by the Council, and did not challenge the Council’s assessment of the situation in Libya or its allegation that he was closely associated with the former regime of Muammar Qadhafi.  It also dismissed the applicant’s arguments that the Council lacked competence to list him, breached its obligation to state reasons, infringed his rights of defence and the presumption of innocence, and infringed his rights to property and freedom.

EU updates 2 Libya listings

The EU has updated the identifying information for Agila Saleh Issa Gwaider and Khalifa Ghwell, both of whom are listed under its Libyan sanctions regime for opposing Libya’s Western-backed unity government (see previous blog).  See Regulation 2016/1334 implementing Regulation 2016/44 and Decision (CFSP) 2016/1340 implementing Decision 2015/1333.  OFSI’s notice is here.

Payment of statutory demand doesn’t breach sanctions on LIA; Court of Appeal judgment in Maud

The Court of Appeal has allowed the Libyan Investment Authority’s (the LIA’s) appeal against a High Court judgment setting aside the LIA’s statutory demand for payment under a 2008 guarantee made by Glenn Maud – Libyan Investment Authority v Maud [2016] EWCA Civ 788 (see previous blog).  A link to the judgment is here.

Mr Maud had successfully argued at first instance that any payment he made to LIA would breach the EU’s sanctions relating to Libya, which froze LIA’s assets, and therefore the demand for payment should be set aside. The Court of Appeal said the EU’s sanctions measures must be construed as far as possible compatibly with the UN Security Council Resolutions they were intended to implement, and noted the easing of UN sanctions on the LIA “to enable the Libyan people to have the benefit” of its assets.  Mr Maud argued that his guarantee fell within the definition of funds, and so payment under the guarantee would breach the requirement that the LIA’s existing funds or assets should remain frozen. The Court held that payment of the guarantee was caught by a separate prohibition on making funds available to the LIA, from which EU and UN sanctions provide a derogation for payments due under agreements that were concluded before the person was designated and paid into frozen accounts and which in any event no longer applies to the LIA, as is the case with Mr Maud’s guarantee to the LIA.  The Court also dismissed Mr Maud’s argument that the LIA’s statutory demand for payment was a form of claim, and so by not setting it aside the Court would be satisfying a claim on behalf of the LIA in contravention of a prohibition on doing so under EU sanctions.

EU de-lists Distya Ameya from its Libya sanctions

The EU has implemented the UN’s decision to de-list the vessel Distya Ameya from its sanctions targeting illicit exports of oil from Libya.  The UN’s decision came after the tanker returned to Libya and discharged its entire cargo under the supervision of the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (see previous blog).

See Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/819 amending Council Regulation (EU) 2016/44 and Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2016/816 implementing Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/1333.

USA and EU designate Libyans obstructing the GNA

OFAC has designated another person deemed to be obstructing political progress in Libya and the transition to the Government of National Accord (see previous blog).  Agila Saleh Issa, Libyan Speaker and President of the House of Representatives, is said to have repeatedly blocked votes needed to support Libya’s political transition and stalled the country’s political progress. In the US Treasury’s press release, Acting Director of OFAC John Smith stated that the US “will continue to support Libya’s Government of National Accord and its efforts to build a better and more stable future for the Libyan people”.

Meanwhile the UK House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee has cleared the EU’s decision in March to sanction 3 Libyans said to be opposing the GNA (see previous blog).  Stating that the measures “come at a crucial time for Libya’s political development”, the Committee did not take issue with Minister David Lidington having overridden its scrutiny given the need for quick action.  The Minister’s explanatory memorandum states that the UK fully supports these EU measures, that sanctions are in place “in order to effect changes in behaviour” and that “if the individuals concerned stand with the Libyan people in support of the GNA, instead of opposing and threatening the peace process, consideration could be given” to lifting them.

The Committee’s full report is here.