Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Around the Arctic October 03, 2013 - 3:57 pm

After failed EU seal ban appeal, Inuit org says never say never

Only one appeal left for anti-EU seal ban forces

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Sealskin jackets made in Nunavut hang on display at this year's North American Fur and Fashion Exposition which took place in Montreal in April. (FILE PHOTO)
Sealskin jackets made in Nunavut hang on display at this year's North American Fur and Fashion Exposition which took place in Montreal in April. (FILE PHOTO)

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and its allies in Greenland, Norway and across Canada are waiting for one last European Court of Justice decision on their attempts to prove the European Union’s ban on seal product imports is illegal.

The European Court of Justice, in a decision issued Oct. 3, found that the European Court was correct when it ruled this past April 25 that an earlier appeal by ITK and others is inadmissible.

In a statement that “expressed disappointment” with the Oct. 3 decision, ITK said, hopefully, that “Inuit remain determined” in their efforts to challenge the EU ban.

ITK also complains the merits of their position have yet to be heard in court and that the rejections of their appeals are based on technicalities.

“Once again the merits of this case have not been heard, and our appeal has again been dismissed on the basis of legal technicalities,” ITK said.

Organizations like the Fur Institute of Canada, the Canadian Seal Marketing Group, the Inuit Circumpolar Council Greenland, hunters and trappers groups and fur companies in Canada, Norway and Greenland teamed up with ITK on the court challenge.

But the legal avenues offered by the European Court are shutting down one by one.

The Oct. 3 finding of the court ruled that the appeal of a “legislative act” by the European Parliament cannot be made admissible in court.

The European Court has yet to rule on one remaining issue flowing from the April 2013 rejection of the case made by ITK and its allies.

That appeal is based on ITK’s objections to the way the seal ban is implemented, including an exemption for seal parts caught by Inuit subsistence hunters.

When the European Parliament passed the seal product ban in May 2009, they created the exception for traditional hunters.

But groups like ITK and the Fur Institute of Canada maintain the exemption is meaningless, because the EU ban destroys the seal market for all producers.

Meanwhile, Canada continues to oppose the EU seal ban through the World Trade Organization.

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