European Court removes EU restrictions on LTTE

images (1)In a landmark victory for the legal initiatives of Eezham Tamils, the Court of Justice of the European Union has ordered the Council of European Union on Thursday to annul the restrictive measures taken against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The case has been won by the LTTE on procedural grounds, said the lawyers representing the LTTE. Commenting on the judgement, Mr Lathan Suntharalingam, one of the initiators of the legal move against EU ban on LTTE said: “More than 40 countries in the world directly and indirectly abetted the Sri Lankan State in its genocidal onslaught on Eezham Tamils. The US paradigm of ‘War Against Terror’ was used to crush the LTTE-defended State of Eezham Tamils. The ECJ verdict on Thursday is a milestone achievement for Eezham Tamils in demanding global justice against the Tamil genocide.”

The Court annulled specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities by the EU with its view of combating terrorism.

In addition, the Court has ordered the Council of the European Union, which lost the case, to pay its own costs and the costs of the LTTE. The Netherlands, the UK and the European Commission were ordered to bear their own respective costs.

The court decision will come to effect after three months.

Finding the current restrictions implemented by the EU inappropriate, the Court has given a minimum period of two months, extended on account of distance by 10 days, for the EU to come out with a new restrictive measure with respect to the LTTE, if appropriate.

The case initiated by Tamil activists on behalf of the LTTE, originally filed in April 2011 with additions later, was represented by the lawyers V. Koppe, A. M. van Eik and T. Buruma.

The Council of the European Union was the defendant, supported by the Netherlands, the UK and the European Commission.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is the highest court in the European Union in matters of European Union law.

The judgement part of the court document follows:

  1. Annuls Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No83/2011 of 31 January 2011, No 687/2011 of 18 July 2011, No 1375/2011 of 22December 2011, No542/2012 of 25June 2012, No1169/2012 of 10 December 2012, No 714/2013 of 25 July 2013, No 125/2014 of 10 February 2014 and No 790/2014 of 22 July 2014 implementing Article2(3) of Regulation (EC) No2580/2001 on specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities with a view to combating terrorism and repealing Implementing Regulations (EU) Nos 610/2010, 83/2011, 687/2011, 1375/2011, 542/2012, 1169/2012, 714/2013 and 125/2014 in so far as those measures concern the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE);
  2. Maintains the effects of Implementing Regulation No 790/2014 for three months following delivery of this judgment;
  3. Orders the Council of the European Union to pay, in addition to its own costs, the costs of the LTTE;
  4. Orders the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the European Commission to bear their own respective costs.

 

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The case came under following title:

Common foreign and security policy — Restrictive measures against certain persons and entities with a view to combating terrorism — Freezing of funds — Applicability of Regulation (EC) No 2580/2001 to situations of armed conflict — Possibility for an authority of a third State to be classified as a competent authority within the meaning of Common Position 2001/931/CFSP — Factual basis of the decisions to freeze funds — Reference to terrorist acts — Need for a decision of a competent authority for the purpose of Common Position 2001/931.

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Earlier this year, the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on Sri Lanka, giving its key finding of genocide against Eezham Tamils, also established that the UK and the USA were complicit in the genocide.

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“We are a small nation, struggling all alone to uphold our rights. But the International Community in an uneven judgement in applying its norms, scaled us with Sri Lankan government abounding with military and economic resources. The scale was not fair,” observed Poddu Ammaan, the Intelligence Head of the LTTE in November 2007, when LTTE’s Political Head was assassinated at his political office in a targeted air-strike by the Sri Lankan military.

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The LTTE was banned in UK in 2001 at a time when the Sri Lankan State itself had to remove the ban on the LTTE prior to the peace negotiations that commenced following the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA).

“The British decision makers have paid scant regard to the lengthy and complex history of the Tamil political struggle, the ugly history of the genocidal mode of State repression and the glorious history of armed resistance against repression and gross violations of human rights. The British ban of the LTTE is a triumph for Buddhist racism and fascism and a severe blow to peace and justice,” Anton Balasingam said in a statement in February 2001. And, when the EU proscribed the Tigers in 2006, he observed: “[T]his state-biased decision to blacklist the LTTE will boost the Sri Lankan government’s global campaign to cast the legitimate struggle of the Tamil people as a mere phenomenon of terrorism which does not deserve political engagement on its part. The EU intervention will thus emerge as a serious impediment to reaching a just and lasting solution to Sri Lanka’s conflict.”

Chronology: