On 26 July 2017, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg upheld the annulment of the decision to maintain the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on the European terrorism list. The LTTE is a movement which opposes the government of Sri Lanka. In 2006, the Council of the European Union had placed the LTTE on a European list of individuals, groups and entities suspected of being involved in acts of terrorism. The Council has maintained the LTTE on the list ever since.

In 2014, the General Court of the European Union annulled the restrictive measures concerning the LTTE, upon which the Council of the European Union appealed that verdict before the Court of Justice EU. The Grand Chamber has now rejected that appeal and confirmed the General Court’s annulment of the continued freezing of the LTTE’s funds between 2011 and 2015.

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 European Council should have referred to the evidence supporting that assessment, which it failed to do.

The LTTE was represented in this procedure by Tamara Buruma and Marieke van Eik.

A link to the Press Release of the Court can be found here.

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