BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s top court on Thursday dismissed an appeal by Zimbabwe’s former attorney general and others against an EU-wide travel ban and asset freeze imposed for human rights infringements.
The European Union began restrictive measures against certain people and entities in Zimbabwe in 2002. Johannes Tomana, then attorney general, and 120 other people and companies were placed on the list in 2012.
The 28 EU member states said the reason for Tomana’s inclusion was that he had engaged in activities that “seriously undermine democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law”.
Tomana and the others applied to the EU’s courts to have their listing annulled.
The General Court, the EU’s second highest court, dismissed their case in 2015, prompting their appeal to the European Court of Justice.
Tomana and the others argued that the EU was wrong to place people on the list as members of the government or “associates” simply because they had been state employees.
They alleged the listing was based on presumptions rather than facts and that the measures were disproportionate.
The Court of Justice said that those who held senior posts, such as in the military or police, must be regarded as associates of the government unless they demonstrated a rejection of the government’s practices.
Zimbabwe, led by 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe, has been subject to a series of restrictions, including an arms embargo and economic sanctions, imposed by the European Union and the United States.
(Reporting by Ines Kagubare Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)