Feature Article

European Court upholds 2014 decision to de-proscribe LTTE

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 26 July 2017, 14:33 GMT]
The Appeal Court of the European Court of Justice on Wednesday maintained the decision already made by the General Court in October 2014 of annulling the restrictive measures that had been taken against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 2006. The case, initiated by Tamil activists from Europe and USA, on behalf of the LTTE, was originally filed in April 2011 with additions later. The case was won by the LTTE on procedural grounds in 2014. The Council of the European Union was the defendant, supported by the Netherlands, the UK and the European Commission. The UK was particularly instrumental in defending continued proscription. Lathan Suntharalingam, one of the initiators of the legal move against EU ban on LTTE on Wednesday told TamilNet that the next step was to challenge the initial 2006-decision to ban the LTTE.

The decision of the ECJ comes after addressing the appeal from the Council regarding Hamas and the LTTE.

LTTE was represented by the lawyers V. Koppe, A. M. van Eik and T. Buruma.

In two judgments delivered in 2014, the General Court annulled the restrictive measures concerning Hamas and the LTTE.

While justifying the annulment of restrictions on the LTTE, the ECJ on Wednesday reverted its 2014 ruling on Hamas.



Hamas has been on the list of proscribed movements in the EU since 2001 while the LTTE was included in 2006 when it was engaged in a peace process facilitated (and mediated) by Norway. The so-called ‘Co-Chair countries of Tokyo Donor Conference’ were steering the process even disregarding the advice from the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) against imposing the ban in 2006.

The EU decision to ban the LTTE encouraged the SL State to wage a genocidal war and finally the mass slaughter against the nation of Eezham Tamils in 2009.

The Hamas and the LTTE “did not challenge the Council measures by which they were initially listed, they did contest their subsequent retention on the list before the General Court,” the ECJ noted in its ruling on Wednesday.

Commenting on the next step of legal activism, Tamil activist Lathan Suntharalingam lamented inaction by the dormant Tamil diaspora in the UK that has failed to challenge the proscription of the LTTE in Britain.

The UK has been long blighting the cause of Eezham Tamils.

The UK’s permanent representative at the United Nations in 2009, Sir John Sawyers, who was at that time the permanent representative to the UN (and later the chief of MI6 until 2014), stopped any Security Council discussion about the crisis in Sri Lanka in February 2009.

On 5th February 2009, when the war was heading towards genocidal end, answering media on UK’s stand at the UN Security Council, John Sawer said: “The Tamil Tigers are a proscribed organisation and the government of Sri Lanka has long been blighted by the activities of the Tamil Tigers. We want these to be brought to an end.”


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