The European Court of Justice (ECJ) decided on Wednesday to keep the Islamist Palestinian movement Hamas, in Gaza, on the EU’s list of terrorist organisations. In a decision, the ECJ considered that the relevant court of first instance in the EU “should not have removed the requirement to keep Hamas on the European list of terrorist organisations and referred the case back to the given court of first instance.” This is stated in a communiqué.
On 17 December 2014, to everyone’s surprise, the relevant EU court of first instance set aside – on the ground of procedural irregularity – the inclusion of Hamas on the EU terrorist list.
On the other hand, the ECJ confirmed the removal from the list of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the Tamil separatist organisation in Sri Lanka.
In a separate case, decided on October 16th, 2014, the Tamil Tigers had been removed from the EU list, also owing to a procedural technicality.
In January 2015, the Council of the European Union, which represents member states, applied to the ECJ. This is the court with supreme jurisdiction in the EU based in Luxembourg. The application was an appeal for a stay of execution, to set aside both decisions.
The ECJ stressed in a communiqué, “Through its decisions made today, the Court is reaffirming its jurisprudence in this area. It is through this legal framework that the European Council can maintain a given individual or entity on the list. The ground for doing so is repeatedly reaching the conclusion that there is a risk of the involvement of such an individual or body in terrorist activities, which justified the initial inclusion of the individual or body on the list.”