Hamas Must Remain on Terror List, Says EU’s Top Court The European Court of Justice reversed a lower court’s decision By Laurence Norman


The European Union’s top court ruled Wednesday that Palestinian group Hamas should be kept on the bloc’s terror list, reversing a lower court decision, but said the striking down of a Sri Lankan terror group listing was appropriate.

The decisions won’t have an immediate impact. Both groups were relisted on new grounds by the EU earlier this year and any funds connected to the groups remain frozen. However, the earlier ruling on Hamas in 2014 had added to tensions with Israel and raised questions about the bloc’s counterterror work.

In the case of Hamas, the European Court of Justice said the lower court’s 2014 decision wrongly demanded stronger evidence from EU member states to keep the group on the terror list.

“We welcome the ECJ ruling which confirmed the legality of Hamas listing in 2010-2014,” said the EU embassy in Israel. “The EU continues to consider Hamas a terrorist organization; measures restricting its activity remain in force.”

The ECJ said that while specific evidence must be provided by an EU member state to blacklist a group or person, there were less strict conditions on evidence to maintain that blacklisting. All that was needed to extend the listing was evidence showing that there is a continuing risk of the person or group being involved in terrorist activities. As a result, the lower court was wrong to discard the looser evidence provided on Hamas’ continuing terror activities.

However, for the Tamil Tigers, the court said that the EU didn’t explain why it believed the Sri Lankan group, following its military defeat in 2009, still posed a terror risk.

The court therefore confirmed the lower court’s decision to annul the freezing of Tamil Tiger funds from 2011 to 2015.

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