July 26, Brussels: The European Court of Justice on Wednesday removed Sri Lanka's defunct Tamil Tiger terrorist group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, from its terrorism blacklist.
However, the European Union's top court has decided to keep the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas on the list.
In 2006, the Council of the European Union placed on the list the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a movement which opposed the Government of Sri Lanka in a violent confrontation that resulted in the LTTE's defeat in 2009. The Council has maintained the LTTE on the list ever since.
By today's judgement the Court of Justice reaffirming its case-law, said the European Union had not provided any evidence showing that the Tamil Tigers were a risk after their military defeat in 2009.
The court said the European Council is obliged to rely on more recent material than the national decisions which justified the initial listing of the LTTE. "The Court of Justice therefore confirms the annulment of the continued freezing of the LTTE's funds," it said.
The General Court of the European Union, on 16th October 2014, on procedural grounds, annulled the European Council measures maintaining LTTE on the European list of terrorist organizations but allowed measures to keep their assets frozen.
"In the case of the LTTE, the Court of Justice considers the judgment of the General Court to be warranted on other grounds, despite the error of law made. In the statements of reasons relating to the restrictive measures, the Council did not refer to anything that might explain why it considered at the time that, notwithstanding the LTTE's military defeat in 2009, it was the
LTTE's intention to continue terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka. In view of the fact that such a military defeat represents a significant change in circumstances, one that is capable of calling in question the ongoing nature of the risk of the LTTE's involvement in terrorist activities, the Council should have referred to the evidence supporting that assessment, which it failed to do. The Court of Justice therefore confirms the annulment of the continued freezing of the LTTE's funds between 2011 and 2015," the Court of Justice said in its ruling.