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EU General Court Rejects Venezuelan Gov't Challenge to EU Sanctions Regime

The EU General Court's Grand Chamber on Sept. 13 rejected the Venezuelan government's challenge of the EU's Venezuela sanctions regime. The court said the European Council "relied on credible and reliable information" to assess the situation in Venezuela, which included "brutal repression" by the government. The court also said Venezuelan reports showing its government prosecuted these human rights abuses weren't enough to reveal a "manifest error" in the council's decision. The sanctions regime itself didn't violate international law, the court added, nor was it an illegal countermeasure because the sanctions weren't meant to be a reaction to an "internationally wrongful act imputable" to the Venezuelan government.

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The court disagreed with Venezuela's contention the sanctions breached the noninterference principle in the country's internal affairs, and also noted the right to be informed prior to the EU's imposition of countermeasures didn't apply. Venezuela "has not established the existence of such a general practice requiring authorisation to be obtained from the United Nations Security Council prior to the adoption, by the Council, of restrictive measures," the opinion said. The court also found no World Trade Organization rules were violated.