Ilankai Tamil Sangam

23rd Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Appealing the 'Terrorist' Designations

by Wakeley Paul, Esq.

Even if there is no national security risk, the designation may not be lifted for political reasons, which legal arguments cannot influence much.

I read with great interest a recent discussion on appealing the various designations of the LTTE by Australia, the US, the EU, etc. As a retired lawyer, I have the following reservations about initiating such an appeal.

The Courts of the nations where these determinations were made are very likely to hold that the determination of a group as being a terrorist organization on grounds of national security are an exclusive right for the Executive branch to make, and not one the courts can determine.

The Executive makes these designations on national security grounds, but also based on political convenience.  Today, few states look with favor on non-state or proto-state armed groups.  Even if there is no national security risk, the designation may not be lifted for political reasons, which legal arguments cannot influence much.

If we should lose our appeals on this or any other ground, the G.O.S.L. will capitalize on this to insist that the LTTE is, in fact, a terrorist organization.

While it is true that we have strong evidence to prove that the LTTE has posed no danger to any of the nations that have banned them for posing a danger to their national security, the fact is the courts could well hold that this is not a subject for judicial determination.

The risk of losing is high and such appeals take resources which could be used for other purposes.  We should do nothing to jeopardize our dream of a free Eelam, which cannot but continue to stir our hearts.