May 2, 2022

EU court lifts sanctions on former DRC police chief

On April 27, 2022, the General Court of the European Union annulled the December 2020 reinstatement of the designation of Ferdinand Ilunga Luyoyo, a citizen of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and former member of the DRC national police, who served as commander of the anti-riot Légion Nationale d’Intervention (LNI) and the UPIHP — the body responsible for the protection of high-ranking individuals and institutions in the DRC.  The court noted that the restrictive measures pursuant to which Luyoyo was designated were imposed in order to foster lasting peace in the DRC and to put pressure on persons and entities that were working to violate the international arms embargo.  The criteria supporting the DRC designations identified persons who prevented the DRC from negotiating an exit from the civil war, violence and repression, those who contributed to or participated in serious violations of human rights, and persons associated with them. 

In requesting that the restrictive measures against him be annulled, Luyoyo argued that although he still bears the nominal title of general, he no longer serves as commander of either the LNI or the UPIHP, and indeed, does not serve in any public role, and did not serve in any such role in 2020 when the restrictive measures were reinstated.  Luyoyo further asserted that his current position as president of the Congolese Boxing Federation is purely private, and should not be used to justify sanctions against him. 

The court agreed with Luyoyo’s arguments, and annulled, with regard to Luyoyo alone, Decision (PESC) 2020/2033 of the European Council dated December 10, 2020, which modified Decision 2010/788/PESC.  Applications by several other current and former DRC officials to annul Decision 2020/2033 with regard to them were rejected by the court.