Facebook icon
Twitter icon
e-mail icon

Dutch court rules LTTE not terrorist organisation

A district court in The Hague ruled on Friday, in the case of five Tamils accused of procuring funds, that the LTTE is not a terrorist organisation.

The landmark ruling was defies European and US policy.

The defence counsel, Victor Koppe, believes the decision "will have a huge impact" on the wider legal battle in the European Court of Justice to remove the LTTE from the EU's list of terrorist organisations.

"For the LTTE, this is a very good judgment. It will be Exhibit A in the LTTE procedure in Luxembourg," said Koppe.

During the case in question, five men were convicted of raising funds for an organisation banned by the EU, and therefore in breach of Dutch law. 

They were also convicted of using 'non-violent threats' to procure funds.

However, they were aquitted of membership of an international terrorist organisation and on charges of extortion.

On the day of the ruling, the court's public gallery was filled with diaspora Tamils who wholly rejected the conviction of the five men, stating they had voluntarily donate money for humanitarian projects in Tamil areas.

Koppe states the defence will be appealing the conviction, citing inherent contradiction in the ruling and conviction.

Basically what they are saying is that the LTTE should not be on the EU banned (terror) list and at the same time convicting them for membership of the group,” said Koppe.

Comparing the LTTE figters to the rebel fighters who fought against the Gaddafi regime, Koppe told the court the LTTE were freedom fighters.

We need your support

Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. Tamil journalists are particularly at threat, with at least 41 media workers known to have been killed by the Sri Lankan state or its paramilitaries during and after the armed conflict.

Despite the risks, our team on the ground remain committed to providing detailed and accurate reporting of developments in the Tamil homeland, across the island and around the world, as well as providing expert analysis and insight from the Tamil point of view

We need your support in keeping our journalism going. Support our work today.

For more ways to donate visit https://donate.tamilguardian.com.