PA spokespersons announced their intention to bring an action against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in the International Criminal Court, DrudgeReport.com informed with reference to France Presse.
“We will appeal to the International Criminal Court for institution of criminal proceedings because of a crime against humanity committed by the occupation army last night,” Yasser Arafat’s adviser Nabil Abu-Rudeineh said. He meant the raid when Hamas leader Salah Shehadeh and 13 civilians had been killed. Abu Rudeineh says: “This is to become a real examination for the International Criminal Court. We hope the Court will initiate criminal proceedings immediately and take up Sharon’s policy that has broken a peace process and all international efforts aimed at recommencement of the process.”
The International Criminal Court started working on July 1, 2002. An agreement on the creation of the court was signed and ratified by 74 states (at the required number of 60 states). The new institution is to take up charges of crimes against humanity and genocide crimes.
Israel refused to recognize the legitimacy of the International Criminal Court. The Israeli government fears that the Court may start investigation of Jewish settlements construction on the territories seized by ZAHAL over a six-day war in 1967. According to Israeli Deputy Minister for Immigration and Absorption Yuli Edelstein, “Israel has apprehensions concerning the Hague International Criminal Court. It is not clear why, but Arab nations and countries of the third world that easily adopt anti-Israel resolutions, almost automatically get the majority in such organizations. When such atmosphere of the international forums changes, we will be able to join the International Criminal Court.” Regarding the recent events, apprehensions of the Israeli were not unfounded. However, nobody expected that a blow would be delivered from quite a different side. Israelis were hardly ready for it.
Attempts to bring Sharon to the bar have been made even earlier. Last year individuals of Lebanese and Palestinian origin living in Belgium brought a suit against Sharon because of “his responsibility for the attacks commanded by Sharon at camps of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon in 1982”. Many people, women and children among them, were killed during those attacks. However, no criminal proceedings were initiated then because Americans exerted pressure on Belgians for the case to be successfully closed. Authority of the Belgian court, that was rather low by that moment, ultimately collapsed then, and, to save the face, upset Belgians introduced amendments to the law on “a universal competence” of the Belgian court.
The first amendment says, the law is to be applied even in those cases when the accused is not on Belgium’s territory. The second one admits the immunity right of high-ranking officials and serves a filter before consideration of cases. The law of 1993, modified in 1999, admits the right of the Belgian court to take up criminal cases and pass sentences for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, irrespective of the place where crimes were committed and of nationality and residence of the accused and victims. For example, three Rwanda citizens, accused of organizing genocide in their country, were convicted in accordance with the law. On the one hand, amendments introduced in the law secure the right to try the accused no matter where they are. On the other hand, the innovations admit immunity of high-ranking officials “that agree with the international law.” So, Sharon should not be afraid of the Belgian court any more, however, it is not the moment for him to relax. If the International Criminal Court takes up the suit of Palestinians, and it is obliged to do it, Sharon will face great problems. But if the USA saves him again, the Superior Court is the only to hope for. Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/07/24/44626.html