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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Global Assessment of the LTTE

Global Assessment of the LTTE

The Sri Lanka Governments assessment of the LTTE is widely shared within the intelligence, law enforcement and criminal justice communities across the world. Even as Sri Lanka appears to be gaining the upper hand in its battle against the LTTE on the ground, there are many who continue to fear that the international tentacles and reach of the group does not augur well.

- The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in its 10 January 2007 special report has described the LTTE as "among the most dangerous and deadly extremists in the world".

- Dr. Magnus Ranstorp, Chief Scientist at the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defence College has described the LTTE as "probably the most sophisticated terrorist organization in the world".

- Dr. Gerard Chaliand, Former Director, European Center for the Study of Conflicts reminds us that "no peace seems possible with V. Prabhakaran as we have seen from the peace process of 2002-2005 which was but a tactical truce".

- Most recently, The US Pacific Joint Command (PACOM) Admiral Timothy Keating while commending Sri Lankan military for its recent successes against the LTTE, has told New York correspondents on 6 November 2008, "We are hopeful that the LTTE would be a decreasingly important factor of much less reach than they are and have been in the past".

- Proscription and its limitations

The response of the international community to the threat posed by LTTE terrorists was dismal. It would be fair to say that it was only following the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, that appropriate note was taken of the risk posed by this group outside Sri Lanka. While India banned the LTTE in May 1992 following the assassination, it was not until the mid-1990s and a spate of international terrorist incidents, and particularly the LTTEs attack on the Central Bank in January 1996, that the world began to respond to the LTTE phenomenon.

•India proscribed the LTTE on 14 May 1992 following the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

•Soon after the Indian proscription, Malaysia banned the activity of the LTTE in the country.

•The US listed the LTTE as a FTO on 8 Oct. 1997

•UK, where the headquarters of the LTTE was housed at the time, proscribed the LTTE on 28 Feb 2001

•UNSC listed the LTTE in UNSC Resolution 1612 (2005) for Child Conscription

•Canada proscribed the LTTE on 8 April 2006.

•The 27 member European Union proscribed the LTTE on 29 May 2006

•In Australia where LTTE assets are effectively frozen in accordance with the listing of the LTTE under UN arrangements, proscribing the LTTE under domestic law is "currently under consideration by the Attorney General" according to a statement made by the Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith on 13 October 2008.


The network of the LTTE and its front organizations transcends the national borders both within the European Union, as well as outside. We have seen sufficient evidence in the prosecutions such as those carried out in the US, Canada and Australia, that the operations of front organizations are an integral part of the LTTE. Taking concerted action against all entities who act for, or on behalf of, or at the behest of terrorist organizations, is an obligation all our countries have voluntarily undertaken under the numerous UN conventions on terrorism, which we have singed and ratified. Doing so has also cast on us, the obligation to implement these provisions equally, to all terrorist entities across the globe.

Sri Lanka calls upon the European Union and other European countries to honour its pledges in this regard with respect to the LTTE and its numerous front organizations operating in their respective countries. It is indeed, time to act.

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