The court of Brussels will start the final stage of the legal proceedings, instituted by a group of the Palestinian and Lebanese citizens against Israeli premier Ariel Sharon. The court is supposed to make a decision regarding the legitimacy of the Israeli premier’s prosecution on the ground of the material, submitted to the court. This material testifies to Sharon's participation in mass murders in the camps of the Palestinian refugees Sabra and Shatila in Lebanon in 1982, ITAR-TASS news agency reported.
The law of 1993 stipulated for “the universal competence” of the Belgian justice in the pending cases, connected with genocide, military crime, crimes against the humanity. The plaintiffs’ lawyers submitted a lot of documents from the internal Israeli sources to the court. These documents say that Ariel Sharon (at that time he was taking the position of Israel’s Defense Minister) deliberately allowed the right-Christian troops in the Palestinian camps and let them make a mass massacre with a view to “preserve the demographic balance” in Lebanon.
There have been two lawsuits filed against Sharon. One of them may call the Israeli premier into the account for murders. These charges were brought by a group of the plaintiffs, which consists of the citizens of Lebanon, Morocco and Belgium and also the citizens of the Palestine autonomy.
Another lawsuit was filed by 23 former refugees, who survived the massacre in the mentioned camps. They charged Sharon of the crimes against the humanity, of genocide and of the military crime. The official investigation of the Israeli government, which was carried out back in 1983 concluded that Sharon was indirectly responsible for the horrible events, being on the position of the Israeli Defense Minister. It was recommended to dismiss him from that position. Sharon was dismissed. Several years after the court found that no one of the Israeli officials was indirectly responsible for the massacre in Sabra and Shatil. The British Broadcasting Corporation has released a documentary this year, pertaining to the grounds for charging the Israeli premier of such horrible crimes. The reaction from the Foreign Ministry of Israel was immediate. The statement released from the Ministry accused BBC of taking the pro-Arab position.
Will the Belgium court be unprejudiced enough, or will the current situation in the Middle East make the court look for a compromise decision? The Belgian authorities found themselves in rather a delicate situation due to the court actions. Brussels takes a very active part in the regulation of the Middle East conflict. This litigation from Brussels is like a bone that stuck in the throat.
Meanwhile, the number of such suits is growing. On Tuesday a group of the Israeli citizens, the relatives of those, who fell victims of acts of terrorism, filed a lawsuit against Yasser Arafat in Brussels.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
AP photo: An employee rolls a trolley, with files to state a case against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, towards a courtroom, at a Brussels court, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2001