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    Saturday, July 29, 2006

    Olmered, Perutz,Halutz charged in Belgium with WAR CRIMES

    Belgians, Ali Abdul-Sater and his wife Farkad El Husseini, were on holiday,with their three children earlier this month when their Beirut apartment was destroyed and they fled Lebanon via Syria.

    Abdul-Sater is vice-president of an association for a secular Lebanon whose members are moderate Lebanese citizens of diverse religions concerned by the future of the country.

    The Belgian paper Le Soir described the couple as having been “shocked and traumatized” by the attacks.

    The couple have commenced an action for war crimes using the phrase "war crimes" as used in the Belgian criminal code with the aid of world famous Belgian Human Rights Lawyer Mr. Georges-Henri Beauthier.

    The code refers to "purposeful murder, severe violations of the physical integrity of health, deportation of civilians and the destruction and misappropriation of goods."

    The Belgian courts have introduced a "principle of the universal jurisdiction" of Belgian courts — adopted in 1993, originally this allowed complaints about war crimes from other countries to be brought before Belgian courts.

    In 2003, however, after several complaints, notably against former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and US President George Bush, the law was amended so that any complaint would be required to be linked to Belgium.

    The complaint Ali and his wife intend to bring, organised by their lawyer Georges-Henri Beauthier cites Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ( as Head of State he would ordinarily be immune from prosecution).

    Also named in the proposed action are Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz and the Israeli army’s chief of staff, Dan Halutz.

    Lawyer Beauthier said that other complainants are considering to introduce joint complaint.

    When approached by European Jewish Press the Israeli embassy in Belgium did not comment on the newspaper report. “We don’t know about it, only what is written in the newspaper,” Carmela Shamir, the embassy’s press officer told EJP, adding that "a complaint should rather be lodged against Hezbollah."

    Lord Patel thinks that that remark expresses what Jews call "Chutzpah".

    The Belgian law of universal jurisdiction was successfully used last year when a Belgian jury found two Rwandan half-brothers guilty of helping Hutu militias slaughter some 50,000 people during their country's 1994 genocide ( a case handled by Mr. Georges-Henri Beauthier) Curiously the legal principles behind such actions raise great lawerly (and therefore expensive) concern - however pirates have been legally recognized as hosti humanis generis ("enemies of the human race"), for centuries and treated as such, with little or no concern.

    Mr. Georges-Henri Beauthier is a well known and highly regarded Human Rights lawyer in Belgium and for example in 2003 brought an action charging former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin and two of his senior aides with genocide, torture and crimes against humanity on behalf of Falun Gong (Falun Dafa). He also brought charges against former Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet.


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