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Bosphorus v Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications and others, Case C-84/95, 30 July 1996

Issue: the ECJ was asked to rule whether the Irish authorities had been entitled under Regulation (EEC) No 990/93 to impound an aircraft which belonged to a company established in Yugoslavia but had been leased without crew to a Turkish company

Holding: Article 8 of Council Regulation (EEC) No 990/93 of 26 April 1993 concerning trade between the European Economic Community and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia applies to an aircraft which is owned by an undertaking based in or operating from Yugoslavia, even though the owner has leased it for four years to another undertaking and in which no person or undertaking based in or operating from that Republic has a majority or controlling interest.

Reasoning: The court took a broad interpretation of the Regulation but ruled it did not entail any violation of fundamental rights or any breach of the proportionality principle. One of the objectives pursued by the regulation was to dissuade Yugoslavia, by the imposition of sanctions, from continuing to violate the integrity and security of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The impoundment of the aircraft could not be regarded as inappropriate or disproportionate because it was a basic objective in the general interest of the international community to end the state of war in the region and the large-scale violations of human rights in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

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