Thursday, January 15, 2009

90 organizations, mainly French, to prosecute Israel for War Crimes

by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies Report this post to the editors
Ninety organizations, mainly French, decided to prosecute Israel in the International Court of Justice, in the Hague, for committing War Crimes against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, after the Israeli offensive has thus far left more than 1,033 Palestinians dead, and over 4,580 wounded after 20 days of.

Image taken from Palestine Chronicle website Image taken from Palestine Chronicle website

Mohammad Al Araby – Brussels

The French Lamond Newspaper reported that the organizations prosecuting Israel in the International Court are pro-Palestinian, and that this step comes as several Arab and international organizations are also moving towards filing lawsuits against Israel for war crimes against the unarmed Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, especially since Israel is using internationally banned weapons in its war such as White Phosphorus.

A French lawyer working for the lawsuit said that the eighth article of the Rome Conventions specifies a war crime as “a deliberate act that aims at harming civilians and causing great suffering, harming them physically, destroying their property in a way that cannot be justified”.

The lawyer, Jill Devier, said that a country cannot justify its war crimes by saying that it was subjected to missile fire, “even if the Palestinian homemade shells fired into Israel also constitute a war crime”.

He added that the lawsuit against Israel is well supported by two main legal basis;

1. The inequivalent Israel attack against Gaza, as it includes shelling heavily populated areas. He said that this issue was also raised at the Security Council on December 31.

2. The targets of the Israeli shelling were mainly civilian, as most of the casualties are children and women, and the army also shelled governmental facilities, mosques, sports clubs, and a building which had journalists on its rooftop.

Responding to a question regarding the chances of winning the lawsuit, especially since it is prosecuting figures in a country that does not recognize the international court, Devier said that this issue makes the case more difficult, but added that several Israeli officials have dual citizenships, and could be prosecuted in the countries of their second citizenship.

Another possibility, he added, is that the United Nations can form special courts, or the security council can call for a lawsuit against Israel, yet he said that the two options are hard to achieve under the current international situation, most likely referring to the biased US government's support for Israel.

The number of Palestinians killed in the ongoing Israeli offensive and illegal war against Gaza exceeded 1000, while at least 4,418 have been wounded. Most of the casualties are women, elderly and children.

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