EU lifts ban on LTTE: When and why did it impose the ban?

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When & why EU banned LTTE?
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) on October 16 asked the Council of European Union to quash restrictive measures it had ordered against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2006. The decision, which held the EU restrictions against the Tigers inappropriate, would come to effect after three months.

The ECJ, the highest court in the EU in matters of European Union law, also asked the council to pay the costs, its own as well as that of the LTTE.

The LTTE's assets would also remain "temporarily" frozen, according to a court's statement. The court also gave the EU two months time to come out with a new restrictive measure about the LTTE.

When and why did the EU ban the LTTE?

The EU formally termed the LTTE as a terrorist organisation on May 30, 2006. The decision saw 25 EU member-states to freeze LTTE's financial assets, stop provision of funds directly or indirectly to the outfit and enforce a travel ban. Earlier in September 2005, the EU had imposed a travel ban on the outfit members.

The EU said the decision was part of the efforts to push the LTTE to shun violence and take part in fresh peace talks. The declaration referred to the warning issued in September 2005 to resume negotiations. Experts said the decision to label the LTTE as a terrorist outfit was more because of its failure to return to the negotiation table.

The EU's move was said to be the result of a diplomatic campaign which was conducted by the then US government led by George W Bush to isolate the LTTE and force it to accept Washington's terms. The EU ban came just over a month after Canada took similar steps.

The Nordic states had initially opposed the EU ban. Norway has been the official facilitator of the peace process in Sri Lanka, and along with Sweden, Denmark and Finland, it manned the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission that oversaw the 2002 ceasefire. But thinking that the resolution might compromise their position of neutrality, the Nordic EU members gave in.

The Nordic countries initially opposed an EU ban. Norway has been the official facilitator of the peace process and, along with Sweden, Denmark and Finland, staffs the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) that oversees the 2002 ceasefire. While concerned that the resolution would compromise their official position of neutrality, the Nordic EU members fell into line.

LTTE's European wing moved ECJ in June 2011

The European wing of the LTTE moved the ECJ in June 2011 for removing the restrictions imposed on it by the EU. The LTTE argued that it gave up military means and used political and non-violent means to achieve the goal of obtaining its goal of self-determination of the Tamil people.

India banned LTTE after assassination of Rajiv Gandhi

India banned the LTTE following the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi during an election campaign in Sriperumpudur in Tamil Nadu in May 1991. New Delhi has continuously extended the ban since then.

India should take a cue from ECJ verdict, says Tamil politician

India said that the LTTE continued to pursue the goal of 'Eelam' secretly even after the military defeat in May 2009 by raising funds and conducting propaganda. Pro-Eelam groups said there was no more military element involved in the Eelam movement after the defeat of the LTTE. Pro-LTTE politician from Tamil Nadu P Neduraman said New Delhi should take a cue from the ECJ and lift the ban on the LTTE, said a Deccan Chronicle report.

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