Court prepares for judicial review as EU continues LTTE proscription

[TamilNet, Saturday, 30 July 2011, 17:12 GMT]
European Union (EU) Council, comprising the heads of state of the [twenty seven] EU member states, along with the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council, has decided to further extend the proscription of the Liberation Tigers from September. Meanwhile, the same EU Council is mandated by EU law to respond in writing to the case (T-208/11-9) filed by Amsterdam-based Bohler Advocaten attorney, Victor Koppe, on behalf of the Liberation Tigers at the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice before the third week of September, legal sources closer to the EU case said.

Victor Koppe, Advocaat at Bohler
Victor Koppe
"The extension of proscription is anticipated and is not a surprise. The EU Council would have repeated the same reasons that it would have advanced pre-2009 May, when the LTTE was actively engaged in a war with Sri Lanka military," legal sources working with Tamils Against Genocide (TAG), a US-based activist group said, adding, "however, the real test is when the Court analyzes EU Council's argument against Victor Koppe's to make a determination if the judicial basis to the listing of the group is still valid."

A January 2011 report issued by Berghof Peace Support (Berlin) and Conciliation Resources (London) following a policy workshop at the European Foundation Centre (Brussels), notes, "if a [EU] member state withdraws its support for the listing, or the judicial basis on which a group was listed is no longer valid, the EU is forced to review the judgement. But the European Council has not published criteria for exercising its discretion and is very slow to respond to requests for clarification," the report said.

"While EU Council can be opaque on explaining its discretionary powers to clarifications on listing or delisting when requested by an NGO or by a proscribed organization, the Council cannot evade providing legally persuasive reasoning for judicial scrutiny when the EU Court requests the Council following a challenge by a defendant proscribed organization," the TAG spokesperson said.

In an observation that points to Sri Lanka, the report adds, "Counter-terrorism law is statist in nature as it supports ruling authorities. Certain aspects sit in tension with international legal principles of self-determination and democracy. Blacklisting enables governments to criminalize domestic adversaries, to legitimize their own positions as part of a globalized fight against terrorism, and to employ military counter-insurgency tactics. Such tendencies have been observed in Sri Lanka and Ethiopia for example," the Berghof report said.

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