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|sharon gets his way in belgium|
|06/26/02 at 08:21:10|
|from the globe and mail:|
POSTED AT 5:05 AM EDT Wednesday, June 26
Sharon war-crimes case thrown out
Brussels — A Belgian appeals court ruled
Wednesday that Belgium cannot
investigate war-crimes charges against Israeli
Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon related to a 1982 massacre in two
Palestinian refugee camps.
The three-judge panel said a case could not proceed
against a person who is not in Belgium.
"If a person is not found on the territory, we find it
inadmissible," the court said in its 22-page ruling.
Lawyers for 23 Palestinian survivors, who
launched the case in Belgium last year, said before the decision that they would
appeal if it went against them.
They filed the lawsuit under a 1993 Belgian law
that lets anyone file charges for war crimes regardless of where they
But a ruling by the International Court of Justice,
known as the World Court, in The Hague, Netherlands, last February has
thrown doubt on the law's usefulness.
The World Court upheld the diplomatic immunity of
former Congolese foreign minister, Abdoulaye Yerodia Ndombasi, meaning
Belgium could not try him for allegedly inciting the
killing of hundreds of members of his country's Tutsi minority in 1998.
The case against Mr. Yerodia — similar to those
launched against Mr. Sharon and several other world leaders, including
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat — was
subsequently dropped by the Belgian courts in April.
Belgian prosecutor Pierre Morlet said last month
the Belgian Justice Ministry believed a continuation of the case against Mr.
Sharon was impossible as well.
In a 52-page complaint, the survivors say Mr.
Sharon was responsible for the massacre in the Sabra and Chatilla camps,
which claimed some 800 lives.
The complaint also names Amos Yaron, then the
Israeli army's commander in the Beirut area.
Mr. Sharon was Israel's defence minister when
hundreds of Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps near
Beirut were slaughtered by a Lebanese Christian
militia allied with Israel.
An Israeli inquiry found Mr. Sharon indirectly
responsible, prompting his resignation as defence minister in 1983.
Irit Kohn, director of the Israeli Department of
Justice and one the three lawyers for Mr. Sharon, argued the case should be
thrown out because Belgian courts have no
The Belgian investigation into Mr. Sharon was
suspended in September, after his lawyers won an injunction to review the
legality of the complaint.
Besides Mr. Sharon, war-crimes proceedings have
been brought in Belgium against several world figures including Mr.
Arafat, Cuban President Fidel Castro, Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein, Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo and ex-President
Hashemi Rafsanjani of Iran.
The cases have been an embarrassment for the
Belgian government, which has promised to make it harder for international
claims to be launched in Belgian courts.
So far, the only people tried under the Belgian
war-crimes law are four Rwandans sentenced between 12 and 20 years last
year for their role in the 1994 genocide of the
country's Tutsi ethnic minority.
|Re: sharon gets his way in belgium|
|06/26/02 at 12:21:49|
|Assalaam Alaikum; |
All is as it should be. They will be requitted for that which they do. They will not escape.
|Re: sharon gets his way in belgium|
|06/29/02 at 15:56:27|
|these articles from http://indictsharon.net/|
Court rules Sharon cannot be indicted for slaughter
By Robert Fisk, The Independent, 27 June 2002
Lawyers for the 1982 Palestinian victims of the Sabra and Chatila refugee camp
massacres in Lebanon will appeal against
yesterday's Belgian court ruling that decided Ariel Sharon -- held "personally
responsible" for the killings by Israel's own
commission of inquiry -- cannot be indicted for the slaughter.
A Belgian court ruled that the case could not proceed because Israel's Prime
Minister, who was the Defence Minister in 1982, is not
in Belgium – even though the 1993 Belgian law grants its courts "universal
jurisdiction" over war crimes wherever they are
Israel welcomed the decision. "A trial which began with more politics than law ends
with more law than politics," Daniel Shek, a
foreign affairs department official, remarked. "We, from the beginning, trusted the
Belgian courts and I am happy we were not
But the Israeli state, which took up Mr Sharon's case only hours before the Belgian
lawyers' chief witness, Elie Hobeika, was killed
by a car bomb in Beirut, may still have problems to come. Mr Hobeika, who led
Israel's Phalangist militia into the camps, announced
last January he would give evidence to the courts – but was killed the next day.
Israel denied all responsibility for his murder.
The three lawyers behind the appeal said yesterday: "Impunity continues notably
for Mr Ariel Sharon who, as the person in
command of the operation which was carried out 'under his supervision', was found
'personally responsible' for those massacres by
an Israeli commission of inquiry."
Chibli Mallat, the Lebanese lawyer who has unearthed new evidence that Israeli
troops gave massacre survivors to the camp
murderers for execution after the initial slaughter, says there will be an appeal.
War crimes proceedings have been brought in Belgium against Yasser Arafat,
President Saddam Hussein, President Fidel Castro,
ex-president Hashemi Rafsanjani of Iran and President Laurent Gbagbo of the Ivory
Coast. They will all, no doubt, be breathing a
sigh of relief after this judgment.
Copyright ©2002 The Independent.
Belgian court drops Sharon human rights case
By Gareth Smyth, Financial Times, 26 June 2002
A Belgian court on Wednesday decided not to proceed with a case of crimes against
humanity brought against Ariel Sharon, Israel's
prime minister, for his role in the 1982 massacre of at least 1,000 Palestinian
civilians at the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps in
The court ruled that the complaint was inadmissible because Mr Sharon was not in
Chibli Mallat, the Lebanese lawyer for the 28 Palestinians who brought the case,
said his clients would appeal against the decision.
"If they narrow down the law this far, then what is left of universal jurisdiction?"
he asked. "What is left of the case of someone
like Slobodan Milosevic [the former Serbian president, currently on trial at the
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former
Yugoslavia at the Hague]?"
Mr Mallat argued that the decision went against the "spirit and text" of a 1999 law
which allows Belgian courts to hear
prosecutions in cases outside their normal jurisdiction but which concern crimes
against humanity. Last year Belgium sentenced
four Rwandans to between 12 and 20 years in jail for their role in the 1994
genocide of the country's Tutsi ethnic minority.
The Israeli government was jubilant at Wednesday's result.
"It's a lawsuit that started with more politics than law and it is lucky that the
outcome is more law than politics," said Daniel Shek,
the Israeli foreign ministry's director of European affairs.
"One nation cannot judge another nation," said Shimon Peres, Israel's foreign
minister, who in 1982 was a strong critic of the
massacre. "A nation that doesn't, fortunately, have to fight terror and war will
hardly understand a nation that has to do it."
Souad Srour al-Mereh, one of the plaintiffs, said she was hopeful that the case
could still go ahead. Now 33 and partially paralysed,
she was raped and shot at the age of 14 and left for dead.
"The world should think of these poor victims," said Mr Mallat. "They were lured,
after 20 years, into a system that was not
courageous enough to offer them justice."
The Sabra and Shatilla massacre was carried out by Israeli-allied Christian
militiamen, at a time when the Israeli army was in
control of west Beirut after its invasion of Lebanon. An Israeli commission of
enquiry led by Yitzhak Kahan found Mr Sharon, who
was then defence minister, "personally responsible".
Copyright ©2002 Financial Times.
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