LTTE's US Court hearing scheduled

[TamilNet, Monday, 31 August 1998, 03:20 GMT]
The briefing schedule for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit case between Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Petitioner) and the US Department of State (Respondent) has been set according to legal sources close to the case. The 'merits panel' comprising of Judges Hon. Steven F. Williams, Hon. A. Raymond Randolph and Hon. James L. Buckley will preside the case.

The Petitioner's brief is due on the 29th September 1998; the Respondent's brief is due on the 29th of November 1998. The Petitioner's reply brief is due on the 12th December 1998 and the oral argument is scheduled for January 15th, 1999.

Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, one of the attorneys representing the LTTE, told TamilNet that the LTTE will argue that Tamils have the right to self-determination, the LTTE is a national liberation movement engaged in armed resistance to realize the Tamils' right to self-determination, and that the LTTE's activities are not a threat to the national security of the USA.

Rudrakumaran further said that the LTTE will also challenge the statutory scheme pertaining to the designation, arguing that it violates separation of power and violates due process.

Sources close to the case said that the lawyers representing the LTTE, Ramsey Clark and Lawrence W Schilling, also intend to argue that the Secretary's designation is arbitrary and capricious since it failed to take into consideration the context in which the LTTE's actions take place, namely the persecution of Tamils by the SriLankan Government.

In an earlier procedural motion filed by the LTTE, the LTTE requested access to the information on which the Secretary of State based the designation, opportunity to cross-examine and confront the sources to determine the reliability and trustworthiness of information, and to allow itself to present evidence.

The State Department opposed this motion.

In a ruling on 1st April 1998, the Hon Judges Sentelle, Henderson and Tatel ordered that "LTTE's procedural motion be referred to the merits panel which this petition for review was assigned. The parties are directed to include in their briefs the arguments raised in the procedural motion rather than incorporate those arguments by reference."

On October 8, 1997 the Secretary of State designated thirty organizations as 'foreign terrorist organizations' under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. LTTE was included in this list. The LTTE filed a petition on the 7th November 1997, in the U.S Courts of Appeals in Washington D.C for a review of the Secretary of State's designation.

Related Articles:
20.02.98   State Department requests time extension
12.02.98   LTTE seeks access to "secret" records
07.11.97   LTTE challenges US designation
11.10.97   LTTE responds to US terror listing
09.10.97   US says LTTE engages in terrorism


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