The Government of Sri Lanka has noted with concern the decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on 16th October, to annul the EU regulations proscribing the LTTE. The defendants of this case have been the Council and Commission of the European Union, together with two member states, the Netherlands and the UK.
The External Affairs Ministry said in a statement that expectedly, the ECJ judgment requires in-depth study by all the defendant parties.
It is noteworthy that the Court has stressed the annulments to be “on fundamentally procedural grounds” and “do not imply any substantive assessment of the question of the classification of the LTTE as a terrorist group.” Further it is observed from the decision of the ECJ that “the effects of the annulled measures are maintained temporarily in order to ensure the effectiveness of any possible future freezing of funds”.
Conscious of the fact that the listing of the LTTE is a matter internal to the EU, Sri Lanka is confident that the European Commission and the EU Member States will take the best possible decision on the future course of action to be taken in this regard, in accordance with their own legal architecture in preserving sovereignty.
The EU proscribed the LTTE as a terrorist organization in May 2006, and has remained on its list of terrorist entities ever since. Apart from the EU, the LTTE is proscribed as a terrorist organization in the USA, India, Canada, the UK and Sri Lanka.
The Government of Sri Lanka has fully supported the EU in its listing of the LTTE and has periodically provided information supportive of the regulation and also with a view to facilitate the Commission’s defence in the ECJ. The Government remains committed to provide to the European Commission and EU Member States, any further assistance and information available, to maintain the LTTE as a brutal terrorist organization.
The External Affairs Ministry said that it is noteworthy that a number of EU member countries have carried out investigations against LTTE activists in their territories, some of which are ongoing, while some have resulted in the accused being sentenced by Court.
Sri Lanka is further mindful that the ECJ decision may have an impact including from a security perspective, on the large majority of Sri Lankans living in EU territory, as well as EU citizens of Sri Lankan origin, who are likely to come under pressure once again by pro LTTE activists. (Colombo Gazette)