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Inuit remain determined despite unfavourable EU court appeal decision on seal ban challenge

Thursday, October 3, 2013 – Ottawa, Ontario – Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) expressed disappointment today with the decision of the European Court of Justice to reject the appeal of a 2011 ruling on a legal challenge to the 2009 European Union (EU) ban on the import and  sale of seal products in the EU internal market.

The lawsuit challenging the basic regulation (EC 1007/2009) was dismissed on a technical matter in September 2011. That ruling said that we did not have standing to bring the legal challenge and the action was deemed “inadmissible”. We appealed that decision.

Today’s ruling essentially means that despite the introduction of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, it is still not possible to legally challenge a “legislative act” in the EU based on the maintenance of very strict admissibility criteria. Once again the merits of this case have not been heard, and our appeal has again been dismissed on the basis of legal technicalities.

A decision in our favour would have set a precedent in European law for the next 50 years on the admissibility of applicants who wish to bring actions against European laws and institutions.

There is one more appeal for the European Court of Justice to decide upon. It deals with our case against the implementing measures of the seal ban, which was rejected by the General Court in April 2013. The court has not yet set a date for a hearing on that appeal.

Seal populations are abundant, and seal harvests are sustainable in regions where seals are harvested. Animal products are used and traded throughout the world on a regular basis. Seals are no different. The harvest provides important economic value to individuals and communities, as well as sources of income much needed to help sustain livelihoods and ways of life.

Media Enquiries: Patricia D’Souza, Senior Communications Officer
Tel: 613.292.4482

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