Top EU Court Overrules Lower Court, Keeping Hamas on Terrorism Blacklist

The European Court of Justice finds that the lower court's 2014 ruling was based on media reports, not legal reasoning, and refers the case back

The towers of the European Court of Justice are seen in Luxembourg, January 26, 2017.
Francois Lenoir/REUTERS

The European Union's top court ruled on Wednesday that Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas should remain on the EU terrorism blacklist, referring the case back to a lower court. 

Judges at the European Court of Justice overruled the General Court's view of 2014 that the 28-nation bloc had insufficient evidence to maintain asset freezes and travel bans on Hamas. 

That court found that the listing was based on media and Internet reports rather than solid legal arguments. However, the ECJ said on Wednesday that a decision by a competent authority was only required for an initial listing, with no such condition for subsequent retention.

At the time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was exceedingly critical of the lower court's ruling, which was in response to a petition from Hamas. "The burden of proof is upon the European Union, and we expect them to immediately put Hamas back on the list, as anyone understand that it is an inseparable part of it," he said at the time.