A senior legal adviser to the European Court of Justice has recommended that Hamas be removed from EU’s list of terror organisations.
Eleanor Sharpston, one of ten legal advisers to the European Court of Justice, charged that the EU governments should independently present evidence on attacks perpetrated by the groups, and that information from outside countries such as the US was not sufficient.
“The council cannot rely on facts and evidence found in press articles and information from the internet,” the Wall Street Journal quoted Sharpston as saying.
Sharpston’s suggestion reflects a December 2014 order by the European bloc’s second-highest tribunal to strike Hamas and the Tamil Tigers from the EU’s list of designated terrorist organizations. The court had argued that the decision to include Hamas on the listing was based merely on media and Internet reports.
At the time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the decision by saying that Israel was “not satisfied” with the explanations of the EU that Hamas’s removal is only a technical matter.
The EU later appealed the ruling by the General Court of the European Union.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini issued a statement saying that the decision by the court taking Hamas off the terrorist list and freeing up its frozen funds in Europe “was clearly based on procedural grounds and did not imply any assessment by the court of the merits of designating Hamas as a terrorist organization.”
While Sharpston’s advice is not binding, a date for a final judgment from the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice on the years-long court battle has not yet been set.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that the ECJ said its justices were starting deliberations on the case, noting that rulings by judges typically closely follow the recommendations of the advocates-general.
Hamas, which has claimed numerous attacks against Israel, took over power in the Gaza Strip in 2007 and was initially blacklisted by the EU in 2001.
Source: Jerusalem Post