July 25, 2021

General Court annuls EU sanctions against Venezuelan official

The General Court of the EU recently annulled sanctions imposed by the EU Council against Xavier Antonio Moreno Reyes, the Secretary General of Venezuela’s Consejo Nacional Electoral (National Electoral Council or CNE) in 2018.  The restrictive measures were imposed upon Reyes for allegedly approving CNE decisions that undermined the democracy in Venezuela, including the establishment of the illegitimate Constituent Assembly and manipulation of its electoral process.  On July 14, 2021, the court determined that the Council made an error in its assessment of Reyes and his role as Secretary General of the CNE when it concluded that he approved decisions for that institution, holding that the Council’s grounds for treating Reyes as a CNE decision-maker were not “well founded.”

Reyes challenged the restrictive measures by asserting that he did not participate in CNE discussions or cast votes during its meetings but was limited to organizational and administrative duties such as signing, drafting and verifying the accuracy of the meeting minutes after CNE decision-makers – a group of five members that adopted measures by a majority vote – met and conferred on election topics.  Because Reyes was not a voting member, the court determined that CNE decisions regarding Venezuela’s elections should not be attributed to him.

As a result, the court annulled Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/901 of 25 June 2018 amending Decision (CFSP) 2017/2074;  Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1656 of 6 November 2018 amending Decision (CDSP) 2017/20174;  Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/899 of 25 June 2018 Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/2063; and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1653 of 6 November 2018 implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/2063 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Venezuela, as they relate to Xavier Antonio Moreno Reyes.

EU General Court Judgment