(MENAFN- The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) >The European Court of Human Rights has reprimanded Switzerland for freezing an Iraqi man’s assets without a fair hearing.
In Tuesday’s Grand Chamber judgment, the court in Strasbourg, France, found that Switzerland had denied an Iraqi businessman the right to a fair hearing after freezing his personal and business assets located in Switzerland. It also says that the Swiss authorities should have verified the sanctions list drawn up by the United Nations Security Council.
During Saddam Hussein’s regime, the man had served as the chief financial officer of Iraq’s secret service. As a result, his name as well as that of his business had appeared on a list of people and entities subject to UN sanctions.In a press release, the court stated that Switzerland had “had a duty” to ensure that the list was not arbitrary.
“The Federal Court had merely verified that the applicants’ names actually appeared on the Sanctions Committee’s lists and that the assets concerned belonged to them. The applicants should, on the contrary, have been given at least a genuine opportunity to submit appropriate evidence to a court, for examination on the merits, to seek to show that their inclusion on the lists had been arbitrary. Consequently, the very essence of their right of access to a court had been impaired,” according to the human rights court.
The Swiss authorities froze the assets in 2006, and the man filed an appeal with the Swiss Federal Court. In 2008, that court ruled that the UN sanctions list was binding, and that Switzerland was not authorised to verify its validity.
The man then took his case to the Strasbourg court, which found in his favour in a first instance in 2013. Switzerland requested that the case be heard before the Grand Chamber of the human rights court, which issued its ruling on Tuesday.