European Court Abolishes Rule of LawEuropean Court Abolishes Rule of Law
This week the Court of First Instance of the Luxemburg based Court of Justice of the European Communities ruled that decisions of the United Nations Security Council take precedence over national constitutions, European law and even the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR). This ruling undermines the rule of law and the principles of the constitutional state and of democracy. The Court holds that even organisations (like the European Union) that are not members of the United Nations are bound by decisions of the UN Security Council. The Court’s verdict settled the case of one Ahmed Ali Yusuf, a Swede of Arab origin, whose funds had been frozen in November 2001 by the European authorities after a Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council had put him on a list of alleged terrorists. Yusuf claimed that the sanctions are in breach of the Rome treaty, which states that EU law cannot lead to disciplinary actions against single individuals. He also asked to be allowed to prove his innocence in a court room. His lawyer said that by refusing judicial review of Security Council decisions and refusing Yusuf the right to prove his innocence before a court “they [the EU] have imposed a system that denies people their legal rights. It is a pitiable verdict, and Ahmed Yusuf is a loser. But the biggest loser is the EU itself. [The verdict] is completely unacceptable [and] raises questions about the EU’s position as regards the rule of law.” Ahmed Ali Yusuf will appeal to the European Court of Justice. Though terrorism should be combated by the international community, Wednesday’s verdict effectively implies (as Jos Verhulst pointed out) that decisions of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party can gain precedence over the European Human Rights Convention. China is a member of the Security Council and its position can determine the outcome of Security Council decisions. What is the value of “human rights” which in the hierarchy of values rank lower than the preferences of the Chinese CP.