The Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the EU recently upheld the EU Council’s imposition of counter-terrorism sanctions against Hamas after the Council appealed a General Court’s 2018 decision suspending the sanctions. In 2018 in Hamas v. Council (T-308/18, EU:T:2019:557), Hamas challenged the authenticity of the statements of reasons provided for their counterterrorism sanctions because the document communicating the reasons for restrictive measures was not signed by the President and the Secretary-General of the Council in accordance with Council’s Rules of Procedure.
The Grand Chamber decided on November 23, 2021 to annul the General Court’s 2018 verdict that suspended the Hamas sanctions and held that the lack of signature on the statement of reasons was not sufficient to invalidate sanctions imposed upon Hamas, noting that the EU Council was able to provide various documents with electronic signatures and stamps demonstrating that the statement of reasons for the sanctions were adopted in accordance with Article 297(2) TFEU and Article 15 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure. In addition, the Grand Chamber stated that Hamas failed to provide any evidence that the statements of reasons that they were provided differed in any way from the documents that were legitimately adopted by the Council. As a result of these findings, the court dismissed Hamas v. Council (2018) in its entirety.