EU, Vitory of justice over collusion

EU, Vitory of justice over collusion (7)

Monday, 16 November 2015 00:00

European Court of Justice - Sixth Judgment

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Court of Justice of the European Union
PRESS RELEASE No 137/11
Luxembourg, 21 December 2011
Press and Information
Judgment in Case C-27/09 P
French Republic v People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran


The Court dismisses France’s appeal against the judgment of the General Court removing the PMOI the EU list of terrorist organisations


The General Court rightly decided that the Council had breached the PMOI’s rights of defence by failing to notify it of the grounds for its inclusion in the list before the decision was adopted


In December 2008, the General Court annulled a Council decision including the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (‘PMOI’) in the European list of terrorist organisations whose funds and other financial assets must be frozen1. This was the third time that the General Court had annulled a decision of that kind.
The previous Council decisions annulled by the General Court2 had been based on an order proscribing PMOI in the United Kingdom, the existence of such a decision taken by a competent authority at national level being a pre-condition for the inclusion of an organisation in the EU list. However, PMOI’s name was removed from the list of organisations proscribed in the UK on 24 June 2008, following the decision of a British court in November 2007 describing that listing as ‘perverse’ and ‘unreasonable’.
Nevertheless, when the Council adopted another decision3 on 15 July 2008 updating the EU list, it maintained PMOI on the list. The inclusion of PMOI was based on two pieces of information supplied by the French Government: the first, relating to the opening in 2001 of a judicial investigation by the anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office of the Tribunal de grande instance of Paris and the second, relating to two supplementary charges in 2007 against alleged members of PMOI. PMOI was notified of that information by the Council on the day the decision was adopted.
Annulling this decision, the General Court found that the Council had violated PMOI’s rights of defence by failing to notify it of the new information before adopting the decision.
Whilst this in itself was sufficient to annul the decision, the General Court, for the sake of completeness, also examined the other arguments put forward by PMOI. In particular it found that the opening of a judicial inquiry and the two supplementary charges did not constitute a decision by a competent authority, in respect of PMOI itself, noting that no reasons were advanced as to why the acts ascribed to the alleged members of PMOI should be attributed to that organisation itself. Furthermore, the Court found that by failing to communicate to the Court certain information about the case which the French authorities refused to declassify, the Council had equally infringed the fundamental right of PMOI to effective judicial protection.
France brought an appeal against that judgment before the Court of Justice.
In its judgment today, the Court of Justice has dismissed that appeal and upheld the judgment of the General Court.

First of all, the Court notes that, in the case of an initial decision to freeze funds, the Council is not obliged to inform the person or entity concerned beforehand of the grounds of his or its inclusion in the list. So that its effectiveness may not be jeopardised, such a measure must be able to take advantage of a surprise effect and to apply immediately. In such a case, it is, as a rule, sufficient if the institution notifies the person or entity concerned of the grounds and affords it the right to be heard at the same time as, or immediately after, the decision is adopted. In contrast, in the case of a subsequent decision to freeze funds maintaining the person concerned in the list, that surprise effect is no longer necessary, with the result that the adoption of such a decision must, in principle, be preceded by notification of the incriminating evidence and by allowing the person or entity concerned an opportunity of being heard.
In the judgment under appeal, the General Court applied those principles to the facts of the case and rightly concluded that, given that PMOI’s name had been maintained in the list by the contested decision, the Council could not, as it did in that case, simply communicate the new incriminating evidence against PMOI at the same time as it adopted the contested decision. The Council was bound, imperatively, to ensure that PMOI’s rights of the defence were observed, that is to say, that the incriminating evidence against it was communicated and PMOI given the opportunity to respond, before that decision was adopted. The Court emphasises that the protection offered by this notification is fundamental and essential to the rights of defence.
Next, the Court considers that the General Court did not err in law in holding that the Council had not established that the contested decision had to be adopted so urgently that it was impossible for that institution to notify PMOI of the new evidence adduced against it and to allow PMOI to be heard before the contested decision was adopted. While it is indeed true, as France has maintained, that the Council could not possibly allow a situation to continue in which the earlier decision lacked any basis following the removal of PMOI from the British list, the fact nevertheless remains, as indeed that Member State accepts, that that removal had no automatic, immediate effect on the earlier decision, which remained in force by reason of the presumption that acts of the institutions of the European Union are lawful.
Lastly, the Court rejected the arguments directed against the grounds of the judgment of the General Court included purely for the sake of completeness, since they cannot, in any event, lead to the judgment’s being set aside and are therefore ineffective.

 

1 Case T-284/08 People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran II (see also Press Release 84/08)
2 Case T-228/02 Organisation des Modjahedines du peuple d’Iran (see also Press Release 97/06) and Case T-256/07 People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (see also Press Release 79/08)
3 Council Decision 2008/583/EC of 15 July 2008 implementing Article 2(3) of Regulation (EC) No 2580/2001 on specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities with a view to combating terrorism and repealing Decision 2007/868/EC (OJ 2008 L 188, p. 21).

 

 

 

Monday, 16 November 2015 00:00

European Court of Justice - Fifth Judgment

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Court of Justice of the European Union
PRESS RELEASE No 73/11
Luxembourg, 14 July 2011
Press and Information
Advocate General’s Opinion in Case C-27/09 P
France v People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran
Advocate General Sharpston suggests that the Court reject France’s appeal against the General Court’s judgment removing PMOI from the EU terrorist list
In so doing she suggests a number of improvements that could be made to procedures so as to ensure an appropriate balance between the need to combat terrorism and the respect of fundamental rights
In December 2008, the Court of First Instance (now called the General Court), annulled a Council Decision including the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran on the European list of terrorist organisations whose funds and other financial assets were to be frozen1. This was the third occasion on which that Court had annulled a decision of this kind.
The previous decisions that had been annulled by the General Court2 had been based on the existence of a UK decision proscribing PMOI, the existence of such a decision by a competent authority at national level being a prerequisite for including an organisation on the EU list. However, PMOI was removed from the list of proscribed organisations in the UK on 24 June 2008, following a ruling of a national court in November 2007 which described that listing as “perverse” and “unreasonable”.
When, on 15 July 2008, the Council adopted a new decision3 updating the EU list, it nevertheless maintained PMOI on the list. The inclusion of PMOI was based on information provided by the French Government as to (i) the opening of a judicial inquiry by the anti-terrorist prosecutor's office of the Tribunal de grande instance de Paris (Regional Court, Paris) in 2001 and (ii) two supplementary charges brought in 2007 against persons presumed to be members of PMOI. Information to this effect was communicated by the Council to PMOI on the day the decision was adopted.
Annulling this decision, the General Court found that the Council had violated the rights of defence of PMOI by not communicating this new information before adopting the decision.
Whilst this in itself was sufficient to annul the decision, the General Court, for the sake of completeness, also examined the other arguments put forward by PMOI. In particular it found that the opening of a judicial inquiry and the two supplementary charges did not constitute a decision by a competent authority, in respect of PMOI itself, noting that no reasons were advanced as to why the acts ascribed to the alleged members of PMOI should be attributed to that organisation itself. Furthermore, the Court found that by failing to communicate to the Court certain information about the case which the French authorities refused to declassify, the Council had equally infringed the fundamental right of PMOI to effective judicial protection.
France appealed against this judgment to the Court of Justice.

In her Opinion issued today, Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston suggests that the Court dismiss France’s appeal.
As regards the failure by the Council to communicate, prior to the adoption of its decision, the new information to PMOI which resulted in that organisation being maintained on the list, Advocate General Sharpston disagrees with the General Court that the Council had ample time between receiving the information from the French Government on 9 June and adopting its decision on 15 July to communicate that information to PMOI, taking into account the internal procedures of the Council.
However, in her view, this should not have prevented the Council from providing the information to PMOI before adopting a decision maintaining it on the list, as required by the Court’s case law. Whether or not issues of urgency arise, it is simply not open to the Council to ride roughshod over a party’s rights of defence.
So as to balance the interests of the Council, PMOI and the other persons on the list who have a right to have that list reviewed every six months, Miss Sharpston suggests that the Council should have adopted a decision as regards the other persons on the list within the timescale required but deferred adopting a decision in relation to PMOI until such time as it had had the opportunity to notify PMOI and consider that organisation’s response. The error made by the Council was in assuming that it had to adopt a single decision dealing simultaneously with all the persons and organisations on the list. This was not the case.
Consequently, Advocate General Sharpston concurs with the conclusion of the General Court that the Council’s decision had been adopted in violation of PMOI’s rights of defence. As this was the sole reason for the annulment of the decision by the General Court, the Advocate General suggests that the Court dismiss the appeal.
Mindful of the fact that the remaining arguments ought to have no bearing on the outcome of the case, Advocate General Sharpston nevertheless considers it important that they be addressed. Failing to do so would, in her opinion, leave France faced with precisely the same uncertainty that led it to appeal in the first place, an uncertainty which may well be shared by other Member States.
As to whether the opening of a judicial inquiry in 2001 and the supplementary charges brought against individuals suspected of being members of PMOI in 2007 constituted a decision by a competent authority, Miss Sharpston first considers that, given that terrorists are unlikely to assist the authorities by establishing themselves in an easily identifiable manner, the requirement that a national decision be taken “in respect of the persons, groups or entities concerned” must be interpreted broadly. As such it is, in her view, not necessary that the national decision name precisely the same persons or organisations as the EU decision. It is sufficient that there exist serious and credible evidence and clues that the persons named are essentially the same.
As to the nature of the national decision, the Advocate General takes the view that a simple decision to initiate investigations is not, of its own, enough. On the other hand, requiring the national decision to be taken by a court would be too strict a requirement. In her opinion there needs to be serious and credible evidence or clues which are strongly suggestive of a terrorist act and significantly more than mere suspicion or hypothesis. Taking this into account, Advocate General Sharpston considers that the opening of a judicial inquiry in 2001, which led to further proceedings in 2003 (under French law known as a mise en examen) would meet this test but that the supplementary charges brought in 2007, which were not subject to a mise en examen, would not. As the two were taken together as a whole by the Council, this leads to the conclusion that the French decisions could not form the basis of the Council’s decision.
Furthermore, the Advocate General agrees with the General Court that no proof was provided that the investigations launched in 2007 against alleged members of PMOI could be said to be directed against PMOI itself.

Finally, as regards the withholding of confidential information from the General Court, Advocate General Sharpston takes no issue with that Court’s finding that the Council’s refusal to communicate the information in question resulted in the General Court being unable to review the lawfulness of the decision. However, given the absence of any specific provisions in that Court’s Rules of Procedure for dealing with information that needs to be communicated to the Court but not to the other party to the case, the Advocate General, nevertheless, does not find France’s position unreasonable. In strict accordance with the General Court’s Rules of Procedure it was not possible for that Court to offer the Council any assurance that the confidential information would not, at some point, have to be communicated to PMOI. As a result Advocate General Sharpston suggests that changes be made to the Rules of Procedure and principles be outlined so as to allow the use of such confidential information where necessary to combat terrorism whilst simultaneously ensuring respect of the rights of defence and the right to effective judicial protection.

 

1 Case T-284/08 People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran II (see also Press Release 84/08)
2 Case T-228/02 Organisation des Modjahedines du peuple d’Iran (see also Press Release 97/06) and Case T-256/07 People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (see also Press Release 79/08)
3 Council Decision 2008/583/EC of 15 July 2008 implementing Article 2(3) of Regulation (EC) No 2580/2001 on specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities with a view to combating terrorism and repealing Decision 2007/868/EC (OJ 2008 L 188, p. 21).


European Advocate General regarded France’s appeal against the General Court’s judgment in favor of the PMOI as unjustified, called on 13 Judges of the Court to reject it

On Thursday July 14, European Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston considered France government’s appeal against the General Court’s judgment removing the PMOI from the EU terrorist list as unacceptable. She endorsed the General Court’s judgment and asked 13 judges of the Court to not accept the appeal.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, said: The view of the Advocate General of the European General Court on July 14 turned into a big fiasco the direct and indirect attempts of the religious fascism ruling Iran for making unjust labels and illegitimate allegations against the Iranian Resistance. It also testified to the legitimacy and righteousness of the Iranian people’s Resistance.
She added: Today, those who have enchained the Iranian Resistance in Europe and the U.S. in a bid to compromise with the bloodthirsty mullahs ruling Iran, added to the sufferings and pains of the Iranian people, and made the life of terrorist fundamentalists longer should be held accountable.
After the judgment of the Europe General Court on 4 December 2008 that ruled strictly to remove the PMOI from the EU list of terrorist organizations, the European Union Council implemented the Court’s ruling by removing the PMOI from the list. However, the French government, separately and without the agreement of the EU Council and 26 other member states, asked the European Court of Justice for appeal.
Hereby, France sought to save the shameful June 17 dossier that it had opened at the behest of the mullahs’ regime and under the excuse of terrorist list. To this end, it tried in a preposterous cycle to present this same dossier as evidence for keeping the PMOI in the terror list; an absurd excuse that was ridiculed by all jurists. This is the very same dossier that the French judges closed it last May forever through their decisive judgment underscoring that the Iranian Resistance’s activities inside Iran and in Ashraf have nothing to do with terrorism.
The European Court of Justice session was convened in the Court’s headquarters in September 2010 in Luxemburg with the presence of 13 judges and the Advocate General to review France’s request for appeal.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
July 14, 2011

Monday, 16 November 2015 00:00

European Court of Justice - Fourth Judgment

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CVRIA LogoORDER OF THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE (Seventh Chamber)
17 December 2008 (1)
(Procedure – Interpretation of a judgment – Manifest inadmissibility)
In Case T 284/08 INTP,
APPLICATION for interpretation of the judgment of the Court of First Instance (Seventh Chamber) of 4 December 2008 in Case T 284/08,
People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, established in Auvers sur Oise (France) represented initially by J.-P. Spitzer, lawyer, and D. Vaughan QC, and subsequently by J. P. Spitzer, D. Vaughan QC and M. E. Demetriou, Barrister,
applicant,
v
Council of the European Communities, represented initially by G. J. Van Hegleson, S. Bishop and E. Finnegan, and subsequently by M. Bishop and E. Finnegan, acting as Agents,
defendant,
supported by
French Republic, represented by G. de Bergues and A. L. During, acting as Agents,
and by
Commission of the European Communities, represented by P. Aalto and S. Boelaerts, acting as Agents,
interveners,
THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES (Seventh Chamber),
composed of: N. J. Forwood (Rapporteur), President, D. Šváby and L. Truchot, Judges,
registrar : E. Coulon,
makes the following
Order
1 By application received at the Court Registry on 4 December 2008, the Council, defendant in Case T 284/08, People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran v Council, applied under Article 129 of the Rules of Procedure of the Court of First Instance for interpretation of the Court judgment of the same day in that case (‘the main judgment’).
2 By that judgment, the Court annulled Council Decision 2008/583/EC of 15 July 2008 implementing Article 2(3) of Regulation (EC) No 2580/2001 on specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities with a view to combating terrorism and repealing Decision 2007/868/EC (OJ 2008 L 188, p. 21) (‘the annulled act’), so far as it concerns the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (‘the PMOI’).
3 By the present application for interpretation, the Council seeks, in essence, a confirmation by the Court that the annulled act has the nature of a regulation, as did the act at stake in Case T 228/02 Organisation des Modjahedines du peuple d’Iran v Council [2006] ECR II 4665 (see paragraph 97), so that, by virtue of Article 60, second paragraph, of the Statute of the Court of Justice, the main judgment shall take effect only as from the date of expiry of the period granted to bring an appeal or, if an appeal shall have been brought within that period, as from the date of dismissal of that appeal.
4 In its observations lodged at the Court Registry on 10 December 2008, the PMOI submits that the application for interpretation is inadmissible and, in any event, unfounded and contends that it should therefore be dismissed and the Council ordered to pay the costs.
5 In its observations lodged at the Court Registry on 15 December 2008, the French Republic explains the reasons why it shares the Council’s interpretation.
6 Under Article 111 of the Rules of Procedure of the Court of First Instance, where the action is manifestly inadmissible the Court of First Instance may, without taking further steps in the proceedings, give a decision on the action by reasoned order.
7 In the present case, the Court considers that it has sufficient information from the documents in the file and has decided, pursuant to that article, to give a decision without taking further steps in the proceedings.
8 It should be noted that, as the Community Courts have consistently held, an application for interpretation of a judgment must, in order to be admissible, concern the operative part of the judgment in question, and the essential grounds thereof, and seek to resolve an obscurity or ambiguity that may affect the meaning or scope of that judgment, in so far as the Court was required to decide the particular case before it. According to the same line of decisions, an application for interpretation of a judgment is therefore inadmissible where it relates to matters not decided by the judgment concerned or seeks to obtain from the Court in question an opinion on the application, implementation or consequences of its judgment (see the orders of 14 July 1993 in Case T 22/91 INT Raiola-Denti and others v Council [1993] ECR II 817, paragraph 6, and of 24 July 1997 in Case T 573/95 (129) Caballero-Montoya v Commission [1997] ECR SC I A 271 and II 761, paragraph 27, and the case-law cited).
9 In the present case, the Council is seeking from the Court an interpretation of the main judgment as to the nature of the annulled act.
10 It should be noted, first, that the Council does not allege in support of its application that the operative part of the main judgment, or the essential grounds thereof, are affected by an obscurity or ambiguity.
11 Secondly, the application for interpretation relates to a matter not decided by the main judgment, namely, whether the annulled act has the nature of a regulation or of a decision.
12 Thirdly, the application for interpretation seeks more specifically to obtain from the Court an opinion on the application, implementation or consequences of the main judgment between the date when it was given and the date when the time limit for lodging an appeal expires.
13 In the light of the foregoing, the present application for interpretation must be rejected as manifestly inadmissible.
Costs
14 Under Article 87(2) of the Rules of Procedure, the unsuccessful party is to be ordered to pay the costs if they have been applied for in the successful party’s pleadings. Since the Council has been unsuccessful, it must be ordered to pay the costs in accordance with the form of order sought by the PMOI.
15 Under the first subparagraph of Article 87(4) of the Rules of Procedure, Member States and institutions intervening in the proceedings are to bear their own costs.
On those grounds,
THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE (Seventh Chamber) hereby orders:
1. The application for interpretation is dismissed as manifestly inadmissible.
2. The Council shall bear, in addition to its own costs, the costs of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran.
3. The French Republic and the Commission shall bear their own costs.

Luxembourg, 17 December 2008.
E. Coulon
Registrar
N. J. Forwood
President
________________________________________
1 Language of the case: English.

Monday, 16 November 2015 00:00

European Court of Justice - Third Judgment

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Press and Information

PRESS RELEASE No° 84/08

4 December 2008

Judgment of the Court of First Instance in Case T-284/08

People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran v Council

THE COURT ANNULS, FOR THE THIRD TIME, A COUNCIL DECISION FREEZING THE FUNDS OF THE PEOPLE’S MOJAHEDIN ORGANIZATION OF IRAN

The Council has violated the rights of defence of the PMOI by not communicating to it the new information which, according to the Council, justified maintaining it on the European list of terrorist organisations; by refusing to communicate to the Court certain information about the case, the Council has equally infringed the fundamental right of the PMOI to effective judicial protection.

By decision of 2 May 2002, the Council included the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (“PMOI”) in the Community list of persons and entities whose funds must be frozen in order to combat terrorism. Since then, the Council adopted several decisions giving effect to the list in question. The PMOI continued to be included in that list. These successive decisions freezing the funds of the PMOI have already resulted in two judgments of the Court of First Instance.

In its first judgment of 12 December 20061 (the OMPI judgment), the Court annulled one of the decisions on the grounds that it did not contain a sufficient statement of reasons, that it had been adopted in the course of a procedure during which the applicant’s rights of defence had not been observed and that the Court itself was not in a position to review the lawfulness of that decision.

In a second judgment of 23 October 20082, (the PMOI judgment) the Court annulled a later decision on the grounds that the Council had failed to give sufficient reasons as to why it had not taken into account the judgment of a British judicial authority, the Proscribed Organisations Appeals Commission (“POAC”), ordering the removal of the PMOI from the British list of terrorist organisations. In this judgment the Court recalled that it was imperative when adopting Community fund-freezing measures that the Council ensures the existence of a decision of a competent national judicial authority, as well as verifying any consequences of this decision at the national level. In its judgment, the POAC described as ‘perverse’ and ‘unreasonable’ the Home Secretary’s conclusion that the applicant was still an organisation concerned in terrorism.

The Home Secretary’s application for leave to bring an appeal against the POAC’s decision was definitively rejected by the Court of Appeal on 7 May 2008 and on 24 June 2008 the UK Parliament approved the Home Secretary’s Order removing the PMOI from the list of proscribed organisations under the national anti-terrorist legislation.

Nevertheless, on 15 July 2008 the Council adopted a new decision3 which maintained the PMOI’s name on the updated Community funds-freezing list. The Council noted in that regard that, even if the Home Secretary’s order was no longer in force, ‘new information concerning the group [had] been brought to the Council’s attention” which, according to the Council, justified keeping the PMOI on the Community list.

By letter dated the same day the Council notified the PMOI that it had been maintained on the list. In the statement of reasons enclosed with the letter, the Council notably referred to the opening of a judicial inquiry by the anti-terrorist prosecutor's office of the Tribunal de grande instance of Paris and to two supplementary charges brought in March and November 2007 against persons presumed to be members of the PMOI. According to the Council, these acts constituted a decision of a competent national judicial authority in accordance with the applicable basic Community legislation4.

On 21 July 2008 the PMOI brought an action for annulment against this decision.

At the PMOI’s request the case has been dealt with using an expedited procedure. The hearing in this case took place on 3 December and today, only one day later, the Court has delivered its judgment. This one-day period is the quickest that the Court has ever delivered its judgment following the hearing.

It is common ground that the Council adopted the contested decision without first informing the PMOI of the new information or new material in the file which, in its view, justified maintaining it on the list. Consequently, the PMOI was not in a position to effectively make known its view of the matter, prior to the adoption of the contested decision. The Court therefore finds, in the light of the principles already stated in the OMPI judgment, that the contested decision was adopted in breach of the PMOI's rights of defence.

In this regard, the Court considers that, contrary to what the Council suggested, nothing prevented it from adopting the decision in accordance with a procedure in which the PMOI’S rights of defence were respected. In particular, the Court rejects the Council’s argument that it was necessary to adopt a new funds-freezing decision so urgently that it was not possible to respect PMOI’s rights of defence, as laid down in the OMPI judgment.

Consequently the Court annuls the funds-freezing decision insofar as it concerns the PMOI.

Even though it is not necessary in these circumstances to deliver judgment on the other arguments advanced by the PMOI, by virtue of their importance the Court also examines the arguments concerning: i) whether the conditions laid down in the basic Community legislation relating to the freezing of funds were respected, notably that a decision has been taken against the person or organisation concerned by a competent national judicial authority; ii) the burden of proof in this regard; and iii) the fundamental right to effective judicial protection.

In this regard, the Court holds notably that neither the information contained in the contested decision, its statement of reasons and the letter of notification, nor even those contained in the Council's answers to the Court’s request for information, establish to the requisite legal standard that the judicial inquiry opened in France in 2001 and the supplementary charges brought in
2007 constitute a decision by a competent judicial authority, in respect of the PMOI itself. In particular, the Council has failed to explain the specific reasons as to why the acts ascribed to the persons alleged to be members of the PMOI should be attributed to the PMOI.

Finally the Court notes that at the request of the French authorities the Council refused to communicate to the Court certain extracts of a document containing a "summary of the main points which justify the keeping of [the PMOI] on the EU list", even though this information had been communicated to the Council and subsequently to the 26 other Member States.

The Court considers that the Council is not entitled to base its funds-freezing decision on information or material in the file communicated by a Member State, if that Member State is not willing to authorise its communication to the Community judicature whose task is to review the lawfulness of that decision.

The refusal by the Council and the French authorities to communicate, even to the Court alone, the information contained in this document has the consequence that the Court is unable to review the lawfulness of the contested decision, which infringes the PMOI’s fundamental right to an effective judicial review.

1 Judgment of the Court of First Instance in Case T-228/02 Organisation des Modjahedines du peuple d’Iran (see also Press Release 97/06).
2 Judgment of the Court of First Instance in Case T-256/07 People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (see also Press
Release 79/08)
3 Decision 2008/583/EC
4 Common Position 2001/931/CFSP and Council Regulation (CE) No 2580/2001


Maryam Rajavi: The EU court ruling is the victory of justice, the EU Council must apologize to the Mojahedin and compensate huge damages inflicted on Iranians

For the third time, the court annulled the decision by the Council of Ministers and ordered the Council to pay all costs incurred by the PMOI

The court’s press release underscored that the verdict was issued only one day after the hearing session, the quickest process of its kind


Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, described today’s ruling of the Court of First Instance of the European Communities as the victory of justice. She said that only one day after the hearing, the Court put an end to the EU Council of Ministers’ unlawful decision to maintain the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran on its terrorist list.
Based on the verdict, she noted that the PMOI is no longer on the EU’s terrorist list and it cannot be placed back on the list. The Council is now obliged to make an official announcement to acknowledge it. The EU must extend its apologies to the PMOI and the people of Iran. The EU must compensate for the heavy damage inflicted on the Iranian people and their Resistance.
Mrs. Rajavi reiterated that the ruling was a heavy blow to the government of France for its shameful use of an empty file. In order to please the religious fascism ruling Iran, France undermined all judicial and ethical principles and called for keeping the Mojahedin on the list, she stressed.
Yesterday the court demonstrated that neither the EU Council nor the French government have any documents against the Mojahedin. Rather, they were imposing the will of a medieval dictatorship ruling Iran by ignoring the most basic judicial procedures. The representatives of the EU Council of Ministers and the French government were not able to come up with the minimum defense of their illegal actions when they were flooded by various questions from the judges. They only replied with their silence.
After today’s verdict, Mrs. Rajavi warned that if the Council persisted on doing a service to the mullahs by refusing to implement the ruling of the court then they would lose all their credibility. “I call on the European leaders not to allow the interest groups to hold hostage the Europe’s credibility by putting pressure on the Council not to abide by the rule of law and the court ruling.”
She noted that yesterday’s hearing and today’s verdict have far more implications than removing a terror label. The label itself bears no credibility. The heart of the argument is democracy and freedom of the Iranian people.
On the opposite side there are those who are willing to stand against the desires of the Iranian people. They entered shameful deals with the mullahs for short term economic interests not having an in-depth understanding of the regime’s nature.
This has given a free hand to the ruling fundamentalists to brutally suppress the Iranian people. It also enabled the mullahs to export terrorism to Iraq and other Middle-Eastern countries and to come closer to obtaining nuclear weapons as well as adding to their missile’s range for reaching Europe.
By placing the Mojahedin on the blacklist they closed the door for a democratic change in Iran and deprived the world of the most important means for the change.
It is high time that the West correct its biggest mistake toward the Iranian issue by removing all restrictions from the Resistance.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
December 4, 2008

Sunday, 15 November 2015 00:00

European Court of Justice - Second Judgment

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PRESS RELEASE No° 79/08

23 October 2008

Judgment of the Court of First Instance in Case T-256/07

People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran v Council

THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE ANNULS DECISION 2007/868 ORDERING THE FREEZING OF THE PEOPLE’S MOJAHEDIN ORGANIZATION OF IRAN’S FUNDS

The Council failed to give sufficient reasons for its decision following a decision taken by a UK judicial authority to remove the PMOI from the national list of terrorist organisations


On 28 September 2001 the Security Council of the United Nations adopted a resolution calling on all the Member States of the United Nations to combat by all means terrorism and its funding, in particular by freezing the funds of persons and entities committing or attempting to commit acts of terrorism.

That resolution was put into effect in the Community by, in particular, a common position1 and a Council regulation2, adopted on 27 December 2001, ordering the freezing of the funds of the persons and entities included in a list drawn up and regularly updated by Council decisions. Inclusion in that list must be made on the basis of precise information or material in the file which indicates that a decision has been taken by a competent national authority, in principle judicial, in respect of the persons and entities referred to. The names of persons and entities included in the list must be reviewed at regular intervals, at least once every six months, to be certain that there are grounds for their continued inclusion in the list.

The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (‘the PMOI’), founded in 1965, set itself the goal of replacing the government of the Shah of Iran, then that of the mullahs, with a democracy. In the past it had an armed branch operating in Iran. It says, however, that it has explicitly renounced all military activity since June 2001.

By decision of 2 May 2002, the Council included the PMOI in the list of persons and entities whose funds must be frozen in order to combat terrorism. Since then, the Council adopted several decisions giving effect to the list in question. The PMOI continued to be included in that list.

The PMOI brought an action before the Court of First Instance against those decisions. In its judgment of 12 December 2006 (‘OMPI’), the Court annulled the decision of 20053 ordering the freezing of the PMOI’s funds on the grounds that it did not contain a sufficient statement of reasons, that it had been adopted in the course of a procedure during which the applicant’s right to a fair hearing had not been observed and that the Court itself was not in a position to review the lawfulness of that decision4.

By letter of 30 January 2007, the Council told the PMOI that, in its opinion, the grounds relied on for including the PMOI in the list were still valid and that, as a result, it intended to continue including that organisation in the list. In the statement of reasons enclosed with that letter, the Council pointed out, inter alia, that a decision had been taken with respect to the PMOI by a national authority, namely the order of the Home Secretary of the United Kingdom of 28 March
2001 proscribing the applicant as an organisation concerned in terrorism, and that that decision was still in force. In various letters, the PMOI submitted to the Council its observations in response, arguing that following the judgment in OMPI, no decision whatsoever to ‘maintain’ the applicant in the list could validly be adopted.

After several exchanges of letters between the Council and the PMOI, on 28 June 2007 the Council adopted Decision 2007/445/EC updating the fund-freezing list. The PMOI was still included in the list.

On 16 July 2007 the PMOI brought the present case, asking the Court to annul Decision 2007/445.

On 30 November 2007 the Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission (‘the POAC’) allowed an appeal against the Home Secretary’s decision refusing to lift the proscription of the PMOI as an organisation concerned in terrorism. It ordered the Home Secretary to remove the PMOI from the list of proscribed organisations. In that decision the POAC inter alia described as ‘perverse’ and ‘unreasonable’ the Home Secretary’s conclusion that the applicant was still an organisation concerned in terrorism. Subsequently, the POAC refused an application by the Home Secretary for permission to lodge an appeal before the Court of Appeal on the ground that none of the arguments advanced by the Home Secretary had a reasonable chance of succeeding.

On 20 December 2007 the Council adopted Decision 2007/868/EC updating the list. The PMOI’s name was included in that list. The Council took the view that the reasons for continuing to include the PMOI in the list still held good and observed that the Home Secretary had sought to bring an appeal against the POAC’s decision.

In consequence, the PMOI made a request to the Court to be allowed to amend the form of order sought so that its application also sought annulment of Decision 2007/868.

The Home Secretary’s application to the Court of Appeal for leave to bring an appeal before that Court against the POAC’s decision was rejected on 7 May 2008. On 24 June 2008, the Parliament of the United Kingdom withdrew the PMOI from the national list of proscribed organisations. On 15 July 2008 the Council adopted Decision 2008/583/EC updating the fund- freezing list. The PMOI’s name was included in that list. The Council noted in that regard that, even if the Home Secretary’s order was no longer in force, ‘new information concerning the group has been brought to the Council’s attention. The Council considers that this new information warrants the group’s inclusion on the list.’ That decision is still in force and has not been challenged in the present proceedings. On 21 July 2008 the PMOI brought an action seeking annulment of that decision. That case, numbered T-284/08, is still pending before the Court.


The consequences of the OMPI judgment and the application for annulment of Decision
2007/445

First of all, the Court observes that by the OMPI judgment, the Court annulled Decision 2005/930 in so far as it concerned the PMOI.

Following that annulment, the Council was obliged to ensure that subsequent fund-freezing measures adopted after that judgment were not vitiated by the same defects. In this instance, the Council has satisfied that obligation by introducing and then setting in motion, immediately after delivery of the OMPI judgment, a new procedure in order to observe the formal and procedural rules set out by the Court in that judgment, and to enable the PMOI to enjoy the guarantees under that new procedure, before adopting Decision 2007/445.

The Council sent to the PMOI a statement clearly and unambiguously explaining the reasons justifying its continued inclusion in the list and sent it a number of documents from the file. The PMOI was also placed in a position to make its case properly regarding the evidence incriminating it. In those circumstances, the Council observed the PMOI’s rights of the defence and satisfied its obligation to state reasons.

Lastly, with regard to the assessment of the evidence, the Court notes that verification that there is a decision of a national authority is an essential precondition for the adoption of an initial decision to freeze funds, whereas verification of the consequences of that decision at the national level is imperative in the context of the adoption of a subsequent decision to freeze funds. The Court observes that, in this instance, the Council essentially took as a basis the fact that the Home Secretary’s order was still in force. The Council also took into consideration the observations and evidence submitted by the PMOI in their defence, but took the view that they did not justify its request to be removed from the list. The Court considers therefore that the Council had reasonable grounds and sufficient evidence for the adoption of Decision 2007/445 and that it committed no manifest error in its assessment of that information. The Council therefore justified to the required legal standard the continued inclusion of the PMOI in the list.

In consequence, the Court dismisses the application for annulment of Decision 2007/445.

The application for annulment of Decision 2007/868

The Court considers that the POAC’s decision is of considerable importance, inasmuch as it is the first decision of a competent judicial authority ruling on the lawfulness of the Home Secretary’s refusal to withdraw the order on the basis of which the Council adopted both the initial decision to freeze the PMOI’s funds and all the subsequent decisions. Because of the overriding necessity to verify the consequences at national level of decisions of a competent authority, having regard to all the relevant information at the date when Decision 2007/868 was adopted, and taking account of the particular circumstances of the case, the Court considers that the Council’s statement of reasons (that Home Secretary intended to bring an appeal against the POAC’s decision) is manifestly insufficient to provide legal justification for continuing to freeze the PMOI’s funds.

The Court considers that that statement of reasons does not make it possible to understand the extent to which the Council actually took into account the POAC’s decision, as it was required to do. The statement does not explain the specific and concrete reasons why the Council took the view, in spite of the findings of fact made by the POAC against which no appeal lies and the particularly severe legal conclusions for the Home Secretary drawn from those findings by the POAC, that the continued inclusion of the applicant in the list at issue remained justified in the light of the same body of facts and circumstances on which the POAC had had to rule. Lastly, the Court considers that while it is true that the Council could have regard to the existence of appeals against the POAC’s decision and to the Home Secretary’s actual recourse to them, it was not sufficient for the Council merely to state that the Home Secretary had sought to lodge an appeal in order to be relieved of the need to take into specific consideration the findings of fact made by the POAC against which no appeal lies and the legal conclusions which it drew from those findings. That was all the more so because, on the one hand, the POAC had described the Home Secretary’s refusal to lift the applicant’s proscription as ‘unreasonable’ and ‘perverse’ and, on the other, when Decision 2007/868 was adopted, the Council had been informed of the POAC’s refusal to grant the Home Secretary leave to introduce such an appeal on the ground that none of the arguments put forward stood a reasonable chance of succeeding before the Court of Appeal

Consequently, the Court annuls Decision 2007/868 in so far as it concerns the PMOI.

1 Common Position 2001/931/CFSP of 27 December 2001 on the application of specific measures to combat terrorism (OJ 2001 L 344, p. 93).
2 Council Regulation (EC) No 2580/2001 of 27 December 2001 on specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities with a view to combating terrorism (OJ 2001 L 344, p. 70)
3 Decision 2005/930/EC.
4 Judgment of the Court of First Instance in Case T-228/02 Organisation des Modjahedines du people d’Iran v
Council [2006] ECR II-4665 (see also Press Release 97/06).


EU Court Annuls Terror Label against PMOI


Maryam Rajavi: The court’s verdict acknowledges the right to resist against dictatorship, and represents the triumph of justice over politics and economic dealings and interests. The imposition of the terrorist label is tantamount to participation in suppression. The Council of Ministers must apologize to the PMOI and the Iranian people.
In a 20-page ruling released this morning, the Court of First Instance of the European Communities annulled the European Union Council of Ministers’ decision to maintain the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) on the EU terrorist list.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the Iranian Resistance’s President-elect, described today’s court decision as an acknowledgment of the Iranian people’s right to resist against dictatorship and religious fascism, and called it a triumph of justice over politics and economic dealings and interests.
She thanked European lawyers, jurists, and legislators for their genuine and unforgettable efforts in defending the rights of the PMOI and the Iranian Resistance. She added that today’s ruling, which comes after an earlier ruling by the EU court in December 2006 in addition to the High Court and Court of Appeal verdicts in the UK, puts an end to the unjust label of terrorism against the PMOI, and demonstrates that this label was from the outset devoid of any legitimacy and legal basis and was simply used to appease the religious fascism ruling Iran and to make concessions to that regime. This ruling is the final nail in the coffin of the discredited terror label.
Mrs. Rajavi said the verdict shows that maintaining the terror label against the PMOI by the EU Council of Ministers last July, which relied on France’s decision, was a kowtow to the mullahs in Iran while trampling upon the rule of law and defying the courts and the values that have formed the basis for the EU’s creation.
The Iranian Resistance’s President-elect added that, in practical terms, the imposition of the terror label is tantamount to participation and cooperation with the religious fascism in its suppression of the people and Resistance of Iran, and blocks the path to democratic change in that country. The regime exploits the terrorist label as an excuse to execute dissidents in Iran and plot against the 3,500 residents of Ashraf City in Iraq (where PMOI members reside). Moreover, in European countries, the basic rights of refugees, applicants for refugee status, as well as members and sympathizers of the Resistance, have been violated by resorting to the same excuse.
Mrs. Rajavi added that today the Council must immediately remove the PMOI from the terrorist list, compensate the people of Iran for all the damages, and apologize to the PMOI and the Iranian Resistance. Every single day of maintaining this label represents the continuation of crimes committed against the Iranian people as well as the blocking of change in Iran. This change is an imperative for regional and global peace and security, and can only be realized by the people and Resistance of Iran. The EU must put an end to its policy and acknowledge the Iranian people’s desire to bring about change.
Mrs. Rajavi pointed to the statements issued by the majority of parliamentarians from various European countries, as well as resolutions passed by the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and the foreign and European committees of many of the European parliaments, in addition to calls by 2,000 parliamentarians from across Europe to remove the PMOI from the terrorist list and implementation of the rulings of the European courts in this regard. She added that all these developments readily express that the people of Europe and their representatives are standing with the Iranian people and detest political dealings and appeasement with the ruling mullahs in Iran.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
October 23, 2008

Sunday, 15 November 2015 00:00

European Court of Justice - Second Judgment

Written by

CVRIA

Press and Information

PRESS RELEASE No° 79/08

23 October 2008

Judgment of the Court of First Instance in Case T-256/07

People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran v Council

THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE ANNULS DECISION 2007/868 ORDERING THE FREEZING OF THE PEOPLE’S MOJAHEDIN ORGANIZATION OF IRAN’S FUNDS

The Council failed to give sufficient reasons for its decision following a decision taken by a UK judicial authority to remove the PMOI from the national list of terrorist organisations


On 28 September 2001 the Security Council of the United Nations adopted a resolution calling on all the Member States of the United Nations to combat by all means terrorism and its funding, in particular by freezing the funds of persons and entities committing or attempting to commit acts of terrorism.

That resolution was put into effect in the Community by, in particular, a common position1 and a Council regulation2, adopted on 27 December 2001, ordering the freezing of the funds of the persons and entities included in a list drawn up and regularly updated by Council decisions. Inclusion in that list must be made on the basis of precise information or material in the file which indicates that a decision has been taken by a competent national authority, in principle judicial, in respect of the persons and entities referred to. The names of persons and entities included in the list must be reviewed at regular intervals, at least once every six months, to be certain that there are grounds for their continued inclusion in the list.

The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (‘the PMOI’), founded in 1965, set itself the goal of replacing the government of the Shah of Iran, then that of the mullahs, with a democracy. In the past it had an armed branch operating in Iran. It says, however, that it has explicitly renounced all military activity since June 2001.

By decision of 2 May 2002, the Council included the PMOI in the list of persons and entities whose funds must be frozen in order to combat terrorism. Since then, the Council adopted several decisions giving effect to the list in question. The PMOI continued to be included in that list.

The PMOI brought an action before the Court of First Instance against those decisions. In its judgment of 12 December 2006 (‘OMPI’), the Court annulled the decision of 20053 ordering the freezing of the PMOI’s funds on the grounds that it did not contain a sufficient statement of reasons, that it had been adopted in the course of a procedure during which the applicant’s right to a fair hearing had not been observed and that the Court itself was not in a position to review the lawfulness of that decision4.

By letter of 30 January 2007, the Council told the PMOI that, in its opinion, the grounds relied on for including the PMOI in the list were still valid and that, as a result, it intended to continue including that organisation in the list. In the statement of reasons enclosed with that letter, the Council pointed out, inter alia, that a decision had been taken with respect to the PMOI by a national authority, namely the order of the Home Secretary of the United Kingdom of 28 March
2001 proscribing the applicant as an organisation concerned in terrorism, and that that decision was still in force. In various letters, the PMOI submitted to the Council its observations in response, arguing that following the judgment in OMPI, no decision whatsoever to ‘maintain’ the applicant in the list could validly be adopted.

After several exchanges of letters between the Council and the PMOI, on 28 June 2007 the Council adopted Decision 2007/445/EC updating the fund-freezing list. The PMOI was still included in the list.

On 16 July 2007 the PMOI brought the present case, asking the Court to annul Decision 2007/445.

On 30 November 2007 the Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission (‘the POAC’) allowed an appeal against the Home Secretary’s decision refusing to lift the proscription of the PMOI as an organisation concerned in terrorism. It ordered the Home Secretary to remove the PMOI from the list of proscribed organisations. In that decision the POAC inter alia described as ‘perverse’ and ‘unreasonable’ the Home Secretary’s conclusion that the applicant was still an organisation concerned in terrorism. Subsequently, the POAC refused an application by the Home Secretary for permission to lodge an appeal before the Court of Appeal on the ground that none of the arguments advanced by the Home Secretary had a reasonable chance of succeeding.

On 20 December 2007 the Council adopted Decision 2007/868/EC updating the list. The PMOI’s name was included in that list. The Council took the view that the reasons for continuing to include the PMOI in the list still held good and observed that the Home Secretary had sought to bring an appeal against the POAC’s decision.

In consequence, the PMOI made a request to the Court to be allowed to amend the form of order sought so that its application also sought annulment of Decision 2007/868.

The Home Secretary’s application to the Court of Appeal for leave to bring an appeal before that Court against the POAC’s decision was rejected on 7 May 2008. On 24 June 2008, the Parliament of the United Kingdom withdrew the PMOI from the national list of proscribed organisations. On 15 July 2008 the Council adopted Decision 2008/583/EC updating the fund- freezing list. The PMOI’s name was included in that list. The Council noted in that regard that, even if the Home Secretary’s order was no longer in force, ‘new information concerning the group has been brought to the Council’s attention. The Council considers that this new information warrants the group’s inclusion on the list.’ That decision is still in force and has not been challenged in the present proceedings. On 21 July 2008 the PMOI brought an action seeking annulment of that decision. That case, numbered T-284/08, is still pending before the Court.


The consequences of the OMPI judgment and the application for annulment of Decision
2007/445

First of all, the Court observes that by the OMPI judgment, the Court annulled Decision 2005/930 in so far as it concerned the PMOI.

Following that annulment, the Council was obliged to ensure that subsequent fund-freezing measures adopted after that judgment were not vitiated by the same defects. In this instance, the Council has satisfied that obligation by introducing and then setting in motion, immediately after delivery of the OMPI judgment, a new procedure in order to observe the formal and procedural rules set out by the Court in that judgment, and to enable the PMOI to enjoy the guarantees under that new procedure, before adopting Decision 2007/445.

The Council sent to the PMOI a statement clearly and unambiguously explaining the reasons justifying its continued inclusion in the list and sent it a number of documents from the file. The PMOI was also placed in a position to make its case properly regarding the evidence incriminating it. In those circumstances, the Council observed the PMOI’s rights of the defence and satisfied its obligation to state reasons.

Lastly, with regard to the assessment of the evidence, the Court notes that verification that there is a decision of a national authority is an essential precondition for the adoption of an initial decision to freeze funds, whereas verification of the consequences of that decision at the national level is imperative in the context of the adoption of a subsequent decision to freeze funds. The Court observes that, in this instance, the Council essentially took as a basis the fact that the Home Secretary’s order was still in force. The Council also took into consideration the observations and evidence submitted by the PMOI in their defence, but took the view that they did not justify its request to be removed from the list. The Court considers therefore that the Council had reasonable grounds and sufficient evidence for the adoption of Decision 2007/445 and that it committed no manifest error in its assessment of that information. The Council therefore justified to the required legal standard the continued inclusion of the PMOI in the list.

In consequence, the Court dismisses the application for annulment of Decision 2007/445.

The application for annulment of Decision 2007/868

The Court considers that the POAC’s decision is of considerable importance, inasmuch as it is the first decision of a competent judicial authority ruling on the lawfulness of the Home Secretary’s refusal to withdraw the order on the basis of which the Council adopted both the initial decision to freeze the PMOI’s funds and all the subsequent decisions. Because of the overriding necessity to verify the consequences at national level of decisions of a competent authority, having regard to all the relevant information at the date when Decision 2007/868 was adopted, and taking account of the particular circumstances of the case, the Court considers that the Council’s statement of reasons (that Home Secretary intended to bring an appeal against the POAC’s decision) is manifestly insufficient to provide legal justification for continuing to freeze the PMOI’s funds.

The Court considers that that statement of reasons does not make it possible to understand the extent to which the Council actually took into account the POAC’s decision, as it was required to do. The statement does not explain the specific and concrete reasons why the Council took the view, in spite of the findings of fact made by the POAC against which no appeal lies and the particularly severe legal conclusions for the Home Secretary drawn from those findings by the POAC, that the continued inclusion of the applicant in the list at issue remained justified in the light of the same body of facts and circumstances on which the POAC had had to rule. Lastly, the Court considers that while it is true that the Council could have regard to the existence of appeals against the POAC’s decision and to the Home Secretary’s actual recourse to them, it was not sufficient for the Council merely to state that the Home Secretary had sought to lodge an appeal in order to be relieved of the need to take into specific consideration the findings of fact made by the POAC against which no appeal lies and the legal conclusions which it drew from those findings. That was all the more so because, on the one hand, the POAC had described the Home Secretary’s refusal to lift the applicant’s proscription as ‘unreasonable’ and ‘perverse’ and, on the other, when Decision 2007/868 was adopted, the Council had been informed of the POAC’s refusal to grant the Home Secretary leave to introduce such an appeal on the ground that none of the arguments put forward stood a reasonable chance of succeeding before the Court of Appeal

Consequently, the Court annuls Decision 2007/868 in so far as it concerns the PMOI.

1 Common Position 2001/931/CFSP of 27 December 2001 on the application of specific measures to combat terrorism (OJ 2001 L 344, p. 93).
2 Council Regulation (EC) No 2580/2001 of 27 December 2001 on specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities with a view to combating terrorism (OJ 2001 L 344, p. 70)
3 Decision 2005/930/EC.
4 Judgment of the Court of First Instance in Case T-228/02 Organisation des Modjahedines du people d’Iran v
Council [2006] ECR II-4665 (see also Press Release 97/06).


EU Court Annuls Terror Label against PMOI


Maryam Rajavi: The court’s verdict acknowledges the right to resist against dictatorship, and represents the triumph of justice over politics and economic dealings and interests. The imposition of the terrorist label is tantamount to participation in suppression. The Council of Ministers must apologize to the PMOI and the Iranian people.
In a 20-page ruling released this morning, the Court of First Instance of the European Communities annulled the European Union Council of Ministers’ decision to maintain the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) on the EU terrorist list.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the Iranian Resistance’s President-elect, described today’s court decision as an acknowledgment of the Iranian people’s right to resist against dictatorship and religious fascism, and called it a triumph of justice over politics and economic dealings and interests.
She thanked European lawyers, jurists, and legislators for their genuine and unforgettable efforts in defending the rights of the PMOI and the Iranian Resistance. She added that today’s ruling, which comes after an earlier ruling by the EU court in December 2006 in addition to the High Court and Court of Appeal verdicts in the UK, puts an end to the unjust label of terrorism against the PMOI, and demonstrates that this label was from the outset devoid of any legitimacy and legal basis and was simply used to appease the religious fascism ruling Iran and to make concessions to that regime. This ruling is the final nail in the coffin of the discredited terror label.
Mrs. Rajavi said the verdict shows that maintaining the terror label against the PMOI by the EU Council of Ministers last July, which relied on France’s decision, was a kowtow to the mullahs in Iran while trampling upon the rule of law and defying the courts and the values that have formed the basis for the EU’s creation.
The Iranian Resistance’s President-elect added that, in practical terms, the imposition of the terror label is tantamount to participation and cooperation with the religious fascism in its suppression of the people and Resistance of Iran, and blocks the path to democratic change in that country. The regime exploits the terrorist label as an excuse to execute dissidents in Iran and plot against the 3,500 residents of Ashraf City in Iraq (where PMOI members reside). Moreover, in European countries, the basic rights of refugees, applicants for refugee status, as well as members and sympathizers of the Resistance, have been violated by resorting to the same excuse.
Mrs. Rajavi added that today the Council must immediately remove the PMOI from the terrorist list, compensate the people of Iran for all the damages, and apologize to the PMOI and the Iranian Resistance. Every single day of maintaining this label represents the continuation of crimes committed against the Iranian people as well as the blocking of change in Iran. This change is an imperative for regional and global peace and security, and can only be realized by the people and Resistance of Iran. The EU must put an end to its policy and acknowledge the Iranian people’s desire to bring about change.
Mrs. Rajavi pointed to the statements issued by the majority of parliamentarians from various European countries, as well as resolutions passed by the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and the foreign and European committees of many of the European parliaments, in addition to calls by 2,000 parliamentarians from across Europe to remove the PMOI from the terrorist list and implementation of the rulings of the European courts in this regard. She added that all these developments readily express that the people of Europe and their representatives are standing with the Iranian people and detest political dealings and appeasement with the ruling mullahs in Iran.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
October 23, 2008

Sunday, 15 November 2015 00:00

European Court of Justice - First Judgment

Written by

CourtPressRelease emblem

PRESS RELEASE No° 97/06

12 December 2006
Judgment of the Court of First Instance in Case T-228/02
Organisation des Modjahedines du peuple d’Iran v Council of the European Union

THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE ANNULS THE COUNCIL’S DECISION
ORDERING THE FREEZING OF THE FUNDS OF THE ORGANISATION DES
MODJAHEDINES DU PEUPLE D’IRAN IN THE FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM

The contested decision infringes the right to a fair hearing, the obligation to state reasons and the right to effective judicial protection

On 28 September 2001, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution calling on all Member States of the UN to combat terrorism and the financing of terrorism by all means, in particular by freezing the funds of persons who commit, or attempt to commit, terrorist acts. That resolution did not, however, identify the persons and entities in question, leaving that assessment to the Member States to determine.
That resolution has been implemented in the Community through a common position1 and a regulation2 of the Council, adopted on 27 December 2001, which ordered the freezing of the funds and other financial assets or economic resources of persons and entities included in a list established and regularly updated by Council decisions. Inclusion on the list is to be done on the basis of precise information or material in the file which indicates that a decision has been taken by a competent national authority, usually a judicial authority, in respect of the persons and entities concerned, irrespective of whether it concerns the instigation of investigations or prosecution for a terrorist act, an attempt to perpetrate, participate in or facilitate such an act based on serious and credible evidence or clues, or a finding of guilt in respect of such deeds. The names of persons and entities on the list are to be reviewed at regular intervals and at least once every six months to ensure that there are still grounds for keeping them on the list.
The Organisation des Modjahedines du peuple d’Iran (OMPI, People’s Mujahidin of Iran), was founded in 1965 and set itself the objective of replacing the regime of the Shah of Iran, then the mullahs’ regime, by a democracy. In the past, it has had an armed branch operating inside Iran. It has stated, however, that it has expressly renounced all military activity since June 2001.
By a common position and a decision of 2 May 2002, the Council updated the list of persons and entities whose funds were to be frozen as part of the fight against terrorism, including, among others, the OMPI. Since then, the Council has adopted a number of common positions and decisions updating the list in question. The OMPI has always been maintained on the list.
The OMPI brought an action before the Court of First Instance seeking annulment of those common positions and decisions, in so far as those acts concern it.
The Court finds that certain fundamental rights and safeguards, including the right to a fair hearing, the obligation to state reasons and the right to effective judicial protection, are, as a matter of principle, fully applicable in the context of the adoption of a Community decision to freeze funds under Regulation No 2580/2001.
In this respect, the Court draws a distinction between the present case and the cases concerning the freezing of funds of persons and entities linked to Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda and the Taleban, which were the subject-matter of the judgments in Yusuf and Kadi of 21 September 20053 and also the judgments in Ayadi and Hassan of 12 July 2006.4 In those cases, the Council and the Commission had merely transposed at Community level resolutions of the Security Council and decisions of its Sanctions Committee which identified the persons concerned by name, without the Community institutions having any discretionary power as to the appropriateness or well-foundedness of those measures. By contrast, in the system at issue in the present case, the Security Council left it to the discretion of the UN Members to carry out the specific identification of the persons and entities whose funds are to be frozen. That identification thus involves the exercise of the Community’s own powers, entailing a discretionary appreciation by the Community. In those circumstances, the Council is in principle bound to observe the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Community legal order.
Next, the Court defines the scope of those rights and safeguards, and also the restrictions which may be imposed on them when a Community measure freezing funds is adopted.
The Court holds that the general principle of observance of the right to a fair hearing does not require that the persons concerned be heard by the Council when an initial decision to freeze their funds is adopted, as it must be able to benefit from a surprise effect. However, that principle does require that, unless precluded by overriding considerations concerning the security of the Community and its Member States, or the conduct of their international relations, the parties concerned must be informed of the specific information or material in the file which indicates that a decision has been taken in respect of them by a competent authority of a Member State, in so far as reasonably possible, either concomitantly with or as soon as possible after the adoption of such a decision. Subject to the same reservations, the parties concerned must be afforded the opportunity to make known effectively their view on any subsequent decision to maintain a freeze on funds.
Likewise, unless precluded by overriding considerations concerning the security of the Community and its Member States, or the conduct of their international relations, the statement of reasons for an initial or subsequent decision to freeze funds must at least make actual and specific reference to the specific information or material in the file which indicates that a decision has been taken in respect of them by a competent authority of a Member State. That statement must also state the reasons why the Council considers, in the exercise of its discretion, that such a measure must be taken in respect of the parties concerned.
Lastly, the right to effective judicial protection is effectively ensured by the right the parties concerned have to bring an action before the Court against any decision to freeze their funds or maintain the freeze on their funds.
However, given the broad discretion enjoyed by the Council in this area, the review carried out by the Court of the lawfulness of such decisions must be restricted to checking that the rules governing procedure and the statement of reasons have been complied with, that the facts are materially accurate, and that there has been no manifest error of assessment of the facts or misuse of power.
Applying those principles to the facts of the present case, the Court notes, first, that the relevant legislation does not explicitly provide for any procedure for notification of the evidence adduced or for a hearing of the parties concerned, either before or concomitantly with the adoption of an initial decision to freeze their funds or, in the context of the adoption of subsequent decisions, with a view to having them removed from the list.
Next, the Court finds that at no time before the action was brought was the evidence adduced against the OMPI notified to it. Neither the initial decision to freeze its funds nor subsequent decisions to maintain that freeze even mention the specific information or material in the file showing that a decision justifying its inclusion on the disputed list was taken in respect of it by a competent national authority.
The Court infers therefrom that the decisions in question do not contain sufficient statements of reasons.
Not only has the OMPI been unable effectively to make known its views to the Council but, in the absence of any statement, in the contested decision, of the actual and specific grounds justifying that decision, it has not been placed in a position to avail itself of its right of action before the Court.
Moreover, neither the file material produced before the Court, nor the responses given at the hearing by the Council and the United Kingdom in response to the questions put by the Court, enable it to conduct its judicial review, since it is not even in a position to determine with certainty exactly which is the national decision on which the contested decision is based
In conclusion, the Court finds that the decision ordering the freezing of the OMPI’s funds does not contain a sufficient statement of reasons and that it was adopted in the course of a procedure during which the right of the party concerned to a fair hearing was not observed, and that it is not in a position to review the lawfulness of that decision. Accordingly that decision must be annulled in so far as it concerns the OMPI.

1 Common Position 2001/931/CFSP on the application of specific measures to combat terrorism (OJ 2001 L 344,
p. 93).
2 Council Regulation (EC) No 2580/2001 of 27 December 2001 on specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities with a view to combating terrorism (OJ 2001 L 344, p. 70).
3 See Press Release No 79/05 of 21 September 2005.
4 See Press Release No 57/06 of 12 July 2006.


Mr. Massoud Rajavi Calls on Iraqi Government
to Acknowledge Asylum Rights of Ashraf Residents

Following the judgment of the European High Court annulling the terrorist designation of the PMOI by the European Union, Mr. Massoud Rajavi, leader of the Iranian Resistance, in a message, congratulated Iranians inside Iran and abroad and the PMOI members in Ashraf on this great victory against the ruling mullahs. Mr. Rajavi described this victory as the triumph of justice over politics and trade.
Mr. Rajavi said: “Including the PMOI in the U.S. and the EU terrorist lists was exclusively the result of demands made by the religious fascism in Tehran. The terrorist label against the principal opposition force to the mullahs delayed the freedom of the Iranian nation from the yoke of the religious dictatorship for one decade and caused immense harm and damages. Today, however, in addition to the Iranian people, 5.2 million Iraqis, together with 1,600 Sheikhs of tribes and 12,000 jurists and lawyers have risen to support the PMOI and the Ashraf residents against the terrorist and other fabricated allegations of the ruling mullahs in Iran.”
The leader of the Resistance added: “The judgment of the European High Court shows that the terrorist label, above all, should be hung around the neck of the religious fascism reigning in Iran. Such a tag on the PMOI struggling for democracy and the separation of church and state, has been the greatest encouragement for the religious and terrorist dictatorship in its suppression of the Iranian people, its export of terrorism and its increasing meddling and crimes in Iraq.”
Mr. Rajavi described the bombing and disarming of the PMOI in Iraq as a fatal mistake and the cause of disturbing the strategic balance in favor of the Iranian mullahs who, since long ago, were inclined to export their revolution to Iraq and to establish a similar state in that country. If this strategic mistake is not corrected, its aftermaths, in addition to the peoples of Iran and Iraq, will entangle the Middle East and the international community, and as desired by the mullahs will sink the U.S. in Iraq’s impasse.
He called on the U.S. to annul the terrorist branding of the PMOI which has been an unjustified political concession to the religious dictatorship ruling Iran from the outset.
Mr. Rajavi also called on the Iraqi government to acknowledge the twenty year old right to asylum of the Ashraf residents and to end the siege of the PMOI which is only to the benefit of the Iranian regime.

The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran
Ashraf- Iraq
December 13, 2006


External Links

Two Misguided Reports

  • HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH Report
    HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH Report
    On 18 May 2005, the US based Human Rights Watch (“HRW”) issued a 28-page report (“the HRW Report”) concerning the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (“PMOI / MEK”).  Entitled ‘No Exit: Human Rights Abuses Inside the MKO Camps’, the HRW Report was essentially based on 12 hours of telephone interviews with 12…
  • Courting Disaster, A response to Rand report on People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran
    Courting Disaster, A response to Rand report on People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran
    The RAND National Defense Research Institute published in July 2009 the report The Mujahedin-e Khalq: A Policy Conundrum for the Multi-National Force-Iraq, Task Force 134 (Detainee Operations). The report focuses on the circumstances surrounding the detention of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK) at Camp Ashraf and “whether MeK members were taken into custody…