EU’s general court issues ruling annulling sanctions against Viktor Viktorovych Yanukovych, President Yanukovych’s son

03 August 2016
Author: JHA

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The General Court of the European Union (“the Court”) has annulled the sanctions that the EU imposed in 2014 on Viktor Viktorovych Yanukovych, a member of Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, and one of the sons of Ukraine’s President Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych.

In this Case, which started in May 2014, Viktor Viktorovych Yanukovych challenged in the Court the EU’s sanctions, seeking the annulment of the relevant EU Council Decisions and Regulations insofar as they applied to him. Mr. Yanukovych died in March 2015 and his widow, Olga Stanislavivna Yanukovych, was granted permission to continue the Case as his heir and legal successor. The Council of the European Union by its own decision removed Mr. Yanukovych’s name from the sanctions list in June 2015.

According to the Court’s Order of 12 July 2016 the sole basis used by the Council of the European Union to support Mr. Yanukovych’s listing in 2014 was a letter from the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine to the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, at the time Baroness Catherine Ashton.

The Court found that the letter did not provide any details 1) as to confirmation of the acts of misappropriation of Ukrainian State funds alleged against Mr. Yanukovych and 2) as to Mr. Yanukovych’s individual liability, even if presumed, in respect of those acts. The Court therefore held that the challenge to the 2014 sanctions was “manifestly well founded”, which meant that it did not even need to hold an oral hearing.

The Court did not determine the merits of a related challenge to the 2015 measures, which was brought after Mr. Yanukovych’s death.


Notes to editors

Mr. Yanukovych and latterly his widow were represented before the General Court by Joseph Hage Aaronson LLP, a law firm based in London:

An action for annulment seeks the annulment of acts of the institutions of the EU, in this case the Council, that are contrary to EU law.

The text of the Court’s Order is available on the website of the Court of Justice of the EU at:

OR alternatively direct link:

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