C-402/05 Kadi and Al Barakaat International Foundation v Commission [2008]

C-402/05 Kadi and Al Barakaat International Foundation v Council and Commission [2008] ECR I-6351, commonly referred to as Kadi I, revolves around the hierarchy between international law and the general principles of EU law.

Mr Kadi, a Saudi resident with assets in Sweden, and Al Barakaat, a charity for Somali refugees, challenged the freezing of their assets, which occurred without a court hearing, right of redress, or specific allegations of wrongdoing. The freezing was carried out in line with UN Security Council resolutions to freeze assets associated with the Taliban and Osama bin Laden, and the EU adopted regulations to implement these resolutions.

Advocate General Maduro's opinion highlighted that EU law does not unconditionally bow to international law if such compliance results in a violation of basic constitutional principles. He emphasised the autonomy of the Community legal order and the need to preserve the constitutional framework created by the Treaty.

The General Court initially held the regulation valid, considering that Security Council resolutions prevailed over EU treaties and regulations. However, the Court of Justice ultimately held the regulation invalid in EU law, asserting that it had jurisdiction to review EU regulations even though it could not review the legality of Security Council resolutions. The judgment underscored the primacy of constitutional principles within the EU legal order, emphasising that international obligations could not prejudice these principles.

The significance of the case lies in the delicate balance between adhering to international obligations, particularly in the context of combating terrorism, and safeguarding fundamental values and rights within the EU legal framework. The Court's decision highlighted the importance of upholding the rule of law even in situations of global significance, where measures to address immediate concerns must align with the fundamental values of the EU legal order.
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