LONDON, June 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
On 5 June 2015, the European Union took the long overdue step of removing sanctions on our client Viktor Viktorovych Yanukovych, younger son of Ukrainian president, Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych. No reason was given by the Council for his delisting.
Despite a lack of any credible evidence against him, Viktor Viktorovych Yanukovych ("Mr Yanukovych") was originally targeted during the imposition of far-reaching sanctions by the EU in March 2014. Since that time, the EU has repeatedly failed to justify his inclusion. Independent observers have speculated that the sanctions were imposed in haste and that they had remained in place so long because European Union officials had been reluctant to admit error.
It might look like backing away from the unjust imposition of sanctions has been made easier by the tragic death of Mr Yanukovych in March this year although very often sanctions remain in place against the estate of a deceased target for years after their death.
This would appear to be particularly relevant in the case of Ukraine given that a primary asserted purpose of these EU sanctions is the freezing and recovery of assets allegedly misappropriated. Any genuine need for such freezing and recovery would remain whether the targeted individual was alive or not.
An in-depth analysis of the conduct of the EU Council underlines its own lack of confidence in any justification for the sanctions against Mr Yanukovych. For example, the Council twice amended the reasoning for his listing, first on 29 January 2015 and again on 5 March 2015. However, even under the amended reasoning, the Council was then prepared to renew its sanctions against Mr Yanukovych for only three months, and not the normal period of one year. As observers have noted, this short extension was granted in an unsuccessful effort to get the regime in Ukraine to provide evidence and justification for Mr Yanukovych's listing.
Prior to his death Mr Yanukovych had applied to the European Courts to challenge the Council's decision to impose sanctions against him. His estate intends to continue that claim, even after his delisting, in order to establish that he should never have been included. Mr Yanukovych's estate also intends to bring a claim for damages against the Council in respect of the serious breach by the Council of the rule of law in the wrongful imposition of sanctions against him.
Mr Yanukovych's estate wants all documents relating to the imposition of sanctions against Mr Yanukovych, and to Mr Yanukovych's challenges before the European Courts, to be made public, so that the public can come to its own conclusions about the reasons for his listing and delisting, and the unfair process to which he was subjected. Action on behalf of Mr Yanukovych's estate seeking such public access will be started shortly.
Notes to Editors
1. EU Sanctions against Mr Viktor Viktorovych Yanukovych were first imposed by the Council on 5 March 2014 pursuant to Council Decision 2014/119/CFSP http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32014D0119&qid=1433934925734&from=EN and Council Regulation (EU) 208/2014 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32014R0208&qid=1433934983614&from=EN. These sanctions were subject to certain revisions on 14 April 2014 (Council Decision 2014/216 CFSP http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32014D0216&qid=1433935045154&from=EN and Council Regulation (EU) 381/2014 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32014R0381&qid=1433935093352&from=EN), and were amended again on 29 January 2015 (Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/143 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32015D0143&qid=1433935155205&from=EN and Council Regulation (EU) 2015/138 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32015R0138&qid=1433935205112&from=EN). The initial term of these sanctions expired on 6 March 2015; they were extended by Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/364 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32015D0364&from=EN and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/357 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32015R0357&qid=1433935290636&from=EN. For 14 individuals, these sanctions were extended for an additional further year. For Mr Yanukovych and three other individuals, these measures were renewed only for three months, until 6 June 2015.
2. Mr Yanukovych's application for the annulment of the sanctions imposed against him was filed with the General Court of the European Union on 14 May 2014 and is ongoing. The rules of confidentiality that apply to proceedings before the General Court inhibit public discussion of Mr Yanukovych's case at this time. However, a publicly available summary of his claims can be located at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=156115&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=390469 .
3. In addition to Mr Viktor Viktorovych Yanukovych's estate, Joseph Hage Aaronson is representing Mr Yanukovych's father, President Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych, and his brother Mr Oleksandr Viktorovych Yanukovych, in their own applications to the General Court for annulment of the sanctions that have been imposed against them by the Council. Neither has yet been delisted by the Council, but they are pursuing all relevant legal avenues in order to cancel the sanctions against them.
4. Muammar Qadhafi's children identified at footnote 3 were listed prior to their deaths under Council Decision 2011/137/CFSP http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32011D0137&qid=1433958552753&from=EN and Council Regulation (EU) 204/2011 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32011R0204&qid=1433958656995&from=EN, dated 28 February 2011 and 2 March 2011 respectively. Their relisting following their deaths can be seen in Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/818 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32015D0818&qid=1433958827647&from=EN and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/814 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32015R0814&qid=1433959118341&from=EN, each dated 26 May 2015. A similar approach by the Council to the relisting of deceased individuals can be seen, by way of further recent example, in its treatment of three Syrian officials, Hassan Bin-Ali Al-Turkmani, Dawud Rajiha and Hisham Ikhtiyar, all of whom lost their lives in a bombing in Damascus on 18 July 2012. These officials were listed prior to their deaths under Council Decision 2011/782/CFSP http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2011:319:0056:0070:EN:PDF and Council Regulation (EU) 36/2012 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2012:016:0001:0032:EN:PDF, dated 1 December 2011 and 18 January 2012 respectively. Their relisting following their deaths can be seen in Council Decision 2013/255/CFSP http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2013:147:0014:0045:EN:PDF and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 363/2013 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32013R0363&qid=1434538848595&from=EN, dated 31 May 2013 and 22 April 2013 respectively. These sanctions were extended to 1 June 2016 by the Council measures dated 28 May 2015, i.e. Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/837 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=OJ:JOL_2015_132_R_0011&from=ES and Council Regulation (EU) 2015/827 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32015R0827&qid=1433958042731&from=EN .
1. The Council of the European Union adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/876 and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/869. These instruments removed our client Viktor Viktorovych Yanukovych from the list of Ukrainians made subject to EU sanctions since March 2014. The exact wording of the Regulation delisting Viktor Viktorovych Yanukovych is:
"The person listed below is deleted from the list set out in Annex I to Regulation (EU) No 208/2014 as of 6 June 2015:
Entry No 8 - Viktor Viktorovych Yanukovych (Віктор Вікторович Янукович) (son of former President)".
2. e.g. http://www.wsj.com/articles/eu-set-to-scale-back-sanctions-against-former-ukraine-presidents-inner-circle-1424174482; http://www.wsj.com/articles/eu-faces-legal-worries-over-ukraine-corruption-sanctions-1418305869
3. For example, three sons of Muammar Qadhafi then subject to the EU's Libyan sanctions regime, Mutassim Qadhafi, Khamis Muammar Qadhafi and Saif al-Arab Qadhafi, lost their lives during the course of 2011. Not only has the Council nonetheless renewed sanctions against these deceased individuals in May 2015, it has even recognised their deaths on the face of the instruments that did so.
4. See footnote 2 above.
SOURCE Joseph Hage Aaronson