LTTE files challenge to designation

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 07 October 1998, 10:50 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) filed its brief with the US court of Appeals in support of its legal challenge to its designation by the US state department as an organisation involved in terrorist activities, said legal sources.

The LTTE filed its brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on the 29th September 1998, they said.

In the brief, a copy of which was seen by the sources, the LTTE argues that its designation as a "foreign terrorist group" last year by the US Secretary of State, Mrs. M. Albright, had been without prior notice and said that the organisation had not been given the opportunity to be heard.

Along with the brief, the LTTE's legal team submitted several documents to demonstrate the legitimacy of the organisation and its campaign for self determination, said sources.

The documents included declarations from internationally recognised scholars, human rights reports, statistics and graphical analysis illustrating the persecution of the Tamils in Sri Lanka and the one sided nature and unreliability of the information in the public version of the State Department's administrative record.

The LTTE says that it will also be able to rebut or discredit the classified information in the State Department's records also if these are made available.

The LTTE argues that if a proceeding is conducted as required by the Constitution of the United States of America, it could be established the that the LTTE is a de-facto government of a de-facto state and thus does not fall under the ambit of the term "foreign terrorist organisation" as defined in the Anti Terrorism Act.

The LTTE argues that it "is engaged in armed resistance" to "save the Tamils from the genocidal attacks of the Sri Lankan government and to realize the Tamil people's right to self-determination".

The brief notes that the Tamils' legal right to self determination has been strengthened by the recent Canadian Supreme Court decision pertaining to the question of self determination for the people of the Province of Quebec

The LTTE also emphasised that its military activities are legal under domestic and international law and thus can not be characterised as "terrorist activities" as defined in the Anti Terrorism legislation.

The brief pointed out that the Anti Terrorism Act - as applied in this case - is in flagrant violation of the spirit of the law, the basic protection of the Constitution of the US and internationally agreed fundamental human rights.

The Act also violates the freedom of association guaranteed by the US constitution to all of its citizens, said the brief.

The brief argues that that - with regard to the mechanism of designation -the Act violates the principal of fundamental fairness and denies the LTTE due process to confront the allegations against it and to establish the truth.

The brief also criticises the State Department's use of "secret evidence" which prohibits the Court from "adversarial fact-finding".

The LTTE also argues that the US State Department's decision was driven by commercial and geopolitical interests.

The oral argument of the case is scheduled for 15 January 1999. The LTTE is to be represented by Mr. Ramsey Clark, Mr. Lawrence W. Schilling and Mr. V. Rudrakumaran.

 

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