The European Union’s top court reversed a 2015 ruling that said Hamas was unjustly blacklisted by Brussels as a terrorist group.
Wednesday’s ruling by the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice was on an appeal made by EU justice officials against the earlier ruling by the General Court of the European Union, which is an administrative tribunal.
The Court of Justice ruled that Hamas should remain on an EU blacklist and referred the case back to a lower court. The judges dismissed the arguments regarding technical errors in the process of blacklisting the Palestinian group that led to the initial ruling, according to The Associated Press.
Hamas’ military wing was added to the first EU blacklist of terrorist groups issued in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. Hamas’ political wing was blacklisted in 2003.
The lower court’s ruling had triggered a furious reaction by Israeli diplomats and some leaders of Jewish organisations and communities.
In a statement, the General Court in 2015 explained the EU’s blacklisting of Hamas had been based on “factual imputations derived from the press and the internet” rather than “acts examined and confirmed in decisions of competent authorities.” It also said the ruling was not an assertion on Hamas’ alleged use of terror but a reflection of procedural errors in its classification by the European Union.
The European Council, which placed Hamas on the terrorism list in 2001, “did not produce the obligatory judicial effects for the designation,” the lower court asserted.