The European Court of Justice on Wednesday annulled the European Union's decision to freeze the funds of a Saudi businessman on its terrorism blacklist, saying the bloc had failed to respect his rights of defence.
In a new setback for the EU sanctions regime, the court also annulled, for the same reason, the freezing of the funds of the Al Barakaat International Foundation, established in Sweden.
But the Court said the EU did not need to unfreeze the funds immediately, and gave it three months to put right its failure to respect the parties' rights of defence.
"The rights of the defence, in particular the right to be heard, and the right to effective judicial review of those rights, were patently not respected," the EU's top court said in a statement.
But it added "it is conceivable that, on the merits of the case, the imposition of those measures on Mr Kadi and Al Barakaat may all the same prove to be justified."
Saudi businessman Yassin Kadi was put on the EU blacklist after he was included on a UN list of individuals suspected of supporting Osama bin Laden directly after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.
The European Union's two main courts have given several rulings in the past two years against the way the bloc puts groups and people on its terrorism list.
But the bloc has not removed the people or groups from the blacklist, choosing instead to change its procedures and tell them why they were put on it.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Eylül 2008, 14:09