Belgium is Not Britain: Israeli War Criminals Under Prosecution
Tzipi Livni, who was the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time of the Israeli 2008-2009 offensive on the Gaza Strip, cancelled her scheduled visit to Brussels in Belgium when the Attorney General there announced she will be arrested to question her about war crimes committed in the Gaza Strip during the abovementioned offensive.
The Belgium-Palestinian Friendship Association filed a lawsuit before the Belgian courts against the former Minister Tzipi Livni, for her role in the war crimes committed during the Israeli so-called “Operation Cast Lead”.
PCHR welcomes the decision of the Belgian Attorney General and highly appreciates the judiciary there, which did not subject to attempts of politicizing the prosecution. PCHR also values the efforts made by lawyers Alexis Deswaef and Veronique Van Der Planke, representatives of the victims, that contributed to rehabilitate the principles of international justice, fight impunity and get remedy for victims.
PCHR considers this incident as a promotion for the efforts of PCHR and the human rights movement aimed at fighting impunity of war criminals around the world and enhancing justice for Palestinian victims.
Tzipi Livni, who was supposed to attend a conference in the European Parliament on 23 January 2017 in Brussels, cancelled her visit because she was sick. It should be noted that Livni stated that she will not respond to warnings of prosecution as that did not prevent her from moving freely. She justified this by succeeding to visit Britain for four times during 7 years; the last of which was in July 2016 when she went to Britain to attend a conference for Haaretz Newspaper.
As soon as Tzipi Livni arrived at Britain, the Scotland Yard’s War Crimes Unit transmitted a letter to the Israeli Embassy in London inviting her to a police interview in relation to her role in Israel’s 2008-2009 offensive on the Gaza Strip (Operation ‘Cast Lead’), due to a lawsuit filed by PCHR and its partner “Hickman & Rose” before the British courts.
The British politicians as usual blatantly intervened to grant immunity for someone accused of war crimes before the British Judiciary by awarding her “Special Mission” status although she does not occupy any position in the Israeli government, slapping in the face the international and British justice principles.
The British Foreign Ministry previously granted Israeli leaders namely Benny Gantz, and Doron Almog after being summoned by the British Judiciary to investigate with them on giving orders to kill civilians.
Although Livni rubbed the British Judiciary’s nose in the dirt more than once and challenged the prosecution there, it seems different this time before the Belgian Judiciary.
Livni, who played a key role when she was Member of the Israeli Security Cabinet during the Israeli 2008-2009 offensive, has made several statements clearly proving that the Israeli forces used excessive force and deliberately caused destruction in the Gaza Strip. Moreover, she supported those acts and even called for carrying out such acts.
It should be mentioned that the Israeli forces killed around 1167 civilians, including 318 children and 111 women, during the 3-week “Cast Lead” Operation in 2008-2009 in addition to wounding and displacing thousand others.
As Part of its continued and systematic work, PCHR vigorously prosecutes many Israeli leaders accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity by resorting to the ICC and using the principle of universal jurisdiction.
As part of its cooperation with its partners, PCHR prepared many files, which are ready, to prosecute Israeli leaders, who were proved to be involved in war crimes, when they enter any of the states that have jurisdiction over war crimes committed outside its borders. Moreover, PCHR and its partners delivered legal submissions to the ICC to open investigations in the Israeli crimes committed since June 2014.
In light of the above, PCHR calls upon the countries of the world, particularly Britain, to fulfill their international obligations, which have been repeatedly stressed by the UN in many occasions, to fight the impunity granted for war criminals in pursuance of its international obligations under common Article 1 of the four Geneva Conventions.
PCHR also emphasizes that reactivating the principle of international jurisdiction is the perfect way to guarantee genuine respect for the Geneva Conventions that guarantees protection for all mankind from the horrors of wars and directly lead to the protection of international peace and security.