The European Union today clarified that LTTE funds in EU countries will remain frozen despite the recent judgement by the European Court of Justice.
On 27 December 2001, the Council of the European Union adopted a legal framework for measures to combat terrorism. These measures include the freezing of the assets of individuals, groups, and entities related to terrorism, whose names are included on a list which is biannually reviewed by the Council of the European Union to ascertain that there are grounds for retaining them on the list.
In 2006, the Council placed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on the list, and has maintained the LTTE on the list ever since.
While 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. In its judgement delivered in 2014, the General Court annulled the restrictive measures concerning the LTTE due to procedural shortcomings. However, the General Court decided to maintain (until the conclusion of any appeal) the effects of the annulled measures in order to ensure the effectiveness of any possible future freezing of funds. The 2014 judgement was appealed by the Council of the European Union at the European Court of Justice.
The Court of Justice found that the Council failed to explain why it believed the LTTE still had the intention to continue terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka despite the LTTE’s military defeat in 2009. In the judgement issued on 26 July 2017, the European Court of Justice therefore confirmed the annulment of the continued freezing of the LTTE’s funds between 2011 and 2015. The judgement only applies to this specific period of time.
These same funds remain frozen as a result of the two most recent reviews by the Council which took place in July 2016 and January 2017.
Any future review must take into account the judgement of the Court of Justice issued on 26 July 2017. At present, however, the LTTE remains designated as a terrorist organisation in the European Union (EU), and the EU’s restrictive measures against the LTTE remain in force. (Colombo Gazette)