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War crimes trials loom over Israel

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Press TV
Wednesday, Jan 14, 2008

Israeli officials move closer to being prosecuted for human rights violations by international courts as they continue their war on Gaza.

In its upcoming meeting, the UN General Assembly is expected to discuss whether to seek advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice about filing a complaint against Israel, The Guardian reported on Wednesday.

According to the British daily, a Foreign Office source has confirmed reports that the UK government, under pressure from prominent law experts, may consider supporting calls for a reference to the ICJ.

“It’s definitely on the table… We have already called for an investigation and are looking at all evidence and allegations,” the source told The Guardian.

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The world’s leading international lawyers have sent an open letter to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, calling for an end to Israel’s human right violations in the Gaza Strip.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

“The United Kingdom government … has a duty under international law to exert its influence to stop violations of international humanitarian law in the current conflict,” reads the letter.

According to the lawyers, Israel has violated international humanitarian law by directly targeting civilians and failing to discriminate between civilians and combatants.

The special UN rapporteur on the Palestinian territories, Richard Falk, has also criticized Israel for committing “crimes against humanity”.

Falk, who himself is Jewish, has called on the International Criminal Court to determine whether Israeli leaders and military commanders “should be indicted and prosecuted for violations of international criminal law”.

“There is a well-grounded view that both the initial attacks on Gaza and the tactics being used by Israel are serious violations of the UN charter, the Geneva Conventions, international law and international humanitarian law,” Falk says.
Falk has been expelled from Israel due to his criticism of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians — the natives of the land.

“There is a consensus among independent legal experts that Israel is an occupying power and is therefore bound by the duties set out in the fourth Geneva Convention. The arguments that Israel’s blockade is a form of prohibited collective punishment, and that it is in breach of its duty to ensure the population has sufficient food and healthcare as the occupying power, are very strong,” he added.

Comments by the UN official come at a time that the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution on Monday condemning the “grave” Israeli human rights violations against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

This article was posted: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 at 5:11 am

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