Hamas remains on European list of terrorist organisations following CJEU ruling

Hamas should not have been removed from the European list of terrorist organisations, the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled.

It held that the General Court should not have cancelled Hamas’ listing on the ground that the European Council had failed to authenticate by means of a signature the statements of individual reasons for those acts.

In a judgment of 4 September 2019, Hamas v Council, the General Court annulled four acts of the Council of the European Union adopted in 2018 by which Hamas was maintained on the list. Hamas had been listed as an organisation involved in terrorist acts and was, on that basis, subject to measures freezing its funds and economic resources.

Although it rejected seven of the eight pleas in law relied on by Hamas to challenge its listing, the General Court annulled the acts at issue in so far as they concerned that organisation because of the Council’s failure to authenticate, by means of a signature, the statements of reasons relating to those acts.

The Court of Justice, sitting as the Grand Chamber, set aside the judgment of the General Court of 4 September 2019. It found that the General Court erred in law in ruling that the statements of reasons relating to the retention of Hamas on the lists annexed to the acts at issue should – in the same way as the acts themselves, which contain a general statement of reasons – have been signed by the President and the Secretary-General of the Council. In addition, those statements of reasons were adopted by the Council simultaneously with those acts, to which they were inseparably attached, and their authenticity has not been validly challenged.

The court considered Commission v BASF, which it distinguished and said cannot be applied to the present case. Relying on case law, it found that it is sufficient that a statement of reasons be duly authenticated by other means.

Finally, it noted that the Council produced documents demonstrating that the statements of reasons were adopted simultaneously with the acts at issue signed by the President and the Secretary-General of the Council, to which they were inseparably attached, and that Hamas has not put forward any evidence that could call into question the fact that the text of the statements of reasons that were notified to it and the text adopted by the Council correspond perfectly.

Since the authenticity of those statements of reasons has not been validly challenged by Hamas, the Court concludes that the action brought by Hamas must be dismissed in its entirety.

Tags: CJEU

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