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The EU got sued by a lot of dictators this year

In this notoriously bad year for dictators, it seems that faltering strongmen were taking their frustration out on the one institution that may have rivaled them for unpopularity in 2011, the European Union: Eighty two people, entities or groups of entities hit by EU visa bans and asset freezes took the EU to court in ...

KAMBOU SIA/AFP/Getty Images
KAMBOU SIA/AFP/Getty Images

In this notoriously bad year for dictators, it seems that faltering strongmen were taking their frustration out on the one institution that may have rivaled them for unpopularity in 2011, the European Union:

Eighty two people, entities or groups of entities hit by EU visa bans and asset freezes took the EU to court in 2011. The number is a staggering increase compared to previous years: there were just seven cases in the whole period from 1999 (the first-ever case) to 2009 and 15 cases in 201.

The bulk (37) of the 2011 lawsuits come from the circle of ex-Cote-d’Ivoire leader Laurent Gbago. One of them is by his wife, Simone, who said she should get off because the war was a "force majeure.

Iranian banks and shipping firms lodged 14 cases.

Most of the rest came from Arab Spring countries Syria (10), Libya (6), Tunisia (6) and Egypt (3).

Gaddafi had the chutzpah to attack a French decision to transfer €259 million of his loot to the Transitional National Council in Benghazi. The EU court rubbished his appeal as being "manifestly inadmissable."

EU Observer reports that only three of the plaintiffs — two from Ivory Coast and one from Iran — won their cases this year, but also notes that Brussels "has not paid anyone a cent in damages in the past 12 years."

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