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This is how you make it onto the EU's terror blacklist

Earlier this week the EU decided to add Hezbollah’s ‘military wing’ to its list of terror organisations.
Jul 28th 2013, 9:15 AM 9,828 72

THE EUROPEAN UNION decided on Monday to add the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah’s “military wing” to its list of terrorist organisations. What does this mean in practice for all concerned?

What does the blacklist contain?

Persons, groups or entities. The list began in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in the United States in 2001, and triggers priority international police and judicial cooperation.

(Image: Jerry Torrens/AP/PA)

It provides for a possible assets freeze, blocks on new income but also includes humanitarian exemptions and rights of appeal.

Better-known examples on the latest list published last year include Colombia’s FARC, Hamas, the Kurdish PKK, the Tamil Tigers or the Abu Nidal Organisation.

Criteria for listing

A “competent authority”, which needs not be judicial, can base its decision on the “instigation of investigations or prosecution for a terrorist act, an attempt to carry out or facilitate such an act based on serious and credible evidence or clues, or condemnation for such deeds”.

Hezbollah’s listing stems from a combination of these criteria, culminating in the move agreed Monday by all 28 foreign ministers of the 28 European Union states.

With this political decision made, legal experts will draw up the precise wording required and the final document is expected to be published later this week.

How is a “terrorist act” defined

The EU counts them as “intentional acts which, given their nature or context, may seriously damage a country or international organisation and which are defined as an offence under national law”.

These include:

  • attacks on a person’s life or physical integrity;
  • kidnapping or hostage-taking;
  • causing extensive destruction to a government or public facility, transport system or infrastructure;
  • seizure of aircraft, ships or other means or public or goods transport;
  • manufacture, possession, acquisition, transport, supply or use of weapons, explosives, or of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons;
  • participating in the activities of a terrorist group, supplying information, material resources or funding, “with knowledge of the fact that such participation will contribute to the criminal activities of the group”;
  • the acts considered terrorist “must be carried out with the aim of seriously intimidating a population, or unduly compelling a government or international organisation” to follow, or refrain from, a particular course of action.

What’s the procedure?

The EU Council, comprising the 28 EU member states, presents the person, group or entity with a “statement of reasons”, on the basis of which EU courts can reach a judgement where a formal challenge is raised.

(Image: Michel Euler/AP/PA)

The notification sets out:

  • the restrictive measures applied;
  • available humanitarian exemptions;
  • appeal recourse;
  • and a request for the statement of reasons to be made public.

A notice is also placed in the EU’s Official Journal, which logs passage into law.


Reviews must be conducted “at least every six months”. In the interim, listed persons, groups or entities can request a rethink, challenge the listing at national level or in the EU’s General Court, and request that humanitarian exemptions are applied.

- © AFP 2013.

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