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December 18, 2014 4:56 pm

EU Will Lift Restrictions on Hamas in Three Months if Court Ruling Remains Unchallenged, Expert Says

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Hamas could legally operate in Europe by early 2015 if no appeal is launched against the EU General Court's decision to remove the terrorism designation. Photo: Twitter

The EU’s measures against Hamas arising from the designation of the Islamist group as a terrorist organization will disappear within three months, absent a successful appeal against yesterday’s decision by the bloc’s General Court to suspend the terror designation on procedural grounds.

“Since the measures have been annulled, they will only be maintained for the period of three months and will be lifted thereafter, unless the Court’s decision is appealed,” Edisa Korugic, an analyst with the London-based think-tank The Henry Jackson Society, told The Algemeiner by email.  “If an appeal is launched, the measures will remain in place until a decision on the appeal is made, a process which typically lasts about a year and a half.”

As The Algemeiner reported yesterday, the General Court’s decision has raised concerns that Hamas will exploit any legal ambiguities over its present status to rebuild its organizational and fundraising network within Europe. If no appeal is successfully launched within three months – a temporary period during which, the court said, the measures taken against Hamas when it was designated in December 2001 will remain in place – Hamas could find itself operating legally in Europe again.

Korugic said that, as yet, no appeal has been launched. “The EU Commission is considering making an appeal and indeed suggested to the Israeli government after the vote it would do so,” she said. Member states of the EU are entitled to appeal the decision, as is the Council of Europe and “other EU institutions.”

Lawyers for the Council of Europe, which was responsible for the original designation, failed in their attempts to persuade the court to dismiss the action and order the applicant, Hamas, to pay costs. The judgement of the court, available in French, identifies the applicant as “Hamas, established in Doha (Qatar) and represented by Ms. Liliane Glock, lawyer.”

Glock sounded a buoyant note after yesterday’s judgement.

“Every decision since 2001 imposing restrictive measures, including on the armed wing, have been annulled. I believe that this judgement shows the whole world that it exists and is legal,” she told AFP, adding that the court’s decision also showed that the EU could not base its decision on the US list of designated terrorist organizations.

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