On April 29, the European Court of Justice ruled
that the freezing of funds
of persons with suspected links to Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda or the Taliban does not
apply to certain social security benefits paid to their spouses (ECJ Press Release and ECJ Ruling C-340-08).
narrows the notion of “indirect funding” of designated individuals as defined
in the UN Security Council regulations as funds “owned
or controlled directly or indirectly” by persons “acting on their behalf or at
Following UN instructions regarding the assets exemptions, social payments made to spouses of designated individuals were subject to special regulations in the UK to prevent designated individuals to also benefit from the funds. The spourses of a designated individual challenged the application of these measures before the House of Lords which referred the case to the European Court.
the UN objective to stop designated persons
gaining access to economic or financial resources of any kind that they could
use to support terrorist activities, the European Court of Justice ruled that the benefit that a person included in the list might indirectly
derive from the social allowances paid to his spouse does not compromise the objective pursued by the regulation.
By implicitly agreeing that designated individuals could receive funds
from their wives, the European Court of Justice not only weakens the efficiency
of the UN sanctions regime designed to encompass cases of indirect terrorism
financing, it also offers an avenue to provide funding for sanctioned terrorists
within the framework of the UN sanctions regime.
is the second time in two years that the European Court of Justice is
undermining the uniform application of UN regulations adopted under Chapter VII
of the UN Charter. The first time was its ruling in the case of Yassin Abdullah Kadi and Al Barakaat
International Foundation v Council
and Commission. This European Court ruling further contributes to the fragmentation of international law in a way that fundamentally
jeopardizes the international efforts to prevent terror financing and combat