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War in Ukraine: European courts rule in favor of two Russian billionaires.

Interview by Maître William Julié for France24, following the annulment decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union on 11 April 2024 regarding the sanctions imposed on two individuals placed on the lists of restrictive measures taken following the invasion of Ukraine, Mr Fridman and Mr Aven.

William Julié explained that while these decisions are regretted and denounced by certain political observers and activists insofar as they would constitute precedents enabling sanctioned individuals to be removed more easily from the EU Council’s lists, their extent remains to be relativised and limited to individual cases. On the contrary, they mark a return, after two years of political frenzy, to a reminder of the legal principles that form the basis of European integration, such as the rule of law, and the procedural requirements that flow from it, in particular the quality of the evidence provided by the Council.

Although European sanctions are not of a criminal nature, they still infringe a number of fundamental rights and freedoms recognised by the Union. As such, the Union must remain demanding with regard to the decision-making process for including and maintaining the names of individuals on sanctions lists. The very legitimacy, and therefore the legal force, as well as the political and symbolic force, of these measures depend on it.