PDA

View Full Version : UK court rejects Palestinian call to arrest Barak



Peter Presland
09-30-2009, 10:13 AM
I haven't seen reference to this anywhere else yet - par for the course I guess - but the reported UK Foreign Office argument for rejecting the petition to arrest Erhud Barak for war crimes is interesting:
..... the defense minister was a state guest, and therefore was not subject to such lawsuits.I wonder what argument would have been deployed had he NOT been a 'State guest' ?

The Israeli statements are exactly the sort of Orwellian inversions we have all come to know and expect: Black is white, Up is down, Right is Wrong, War is Peace, etc etc.

Still - my guess is that a lot of Israelis are becoming very wary about foreign travel, which I find mildly encouraging

This from The Jerusalem Post: (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1254163541545&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull)
After a tense day that included intensive consultations between the foreign ministries in Jerusalem and London, a British court on Tuesday rejected a petition urging an arrest warrant for Defense Minister Ehud Barak on the grounds that he committed "war crimes" during the IDF offensive in the Gaza Strip earlier this year.
The court accepted arguments submitted by the British Foreign Office, which said the defense minister was a state guest, and therefore was not subject to such lawsuits. Barak was in Britain for talks with Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Defense Secretary Bob Ainsworth and Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
"We do not intend to let terror win," Barak said in a statement issued by his office on Tuesday evening. "We will not apologize in any way for our just struggle against terrorism. We will do everything possible so that the representatives of Israel, security officials and soldiers of the IDF will continue to freely travel the world. The theater of the absurd whereby those who defend their citizens need to be on the defensive has to end. Otherwise, the world is likely not only to give a prize to terrorism, but to encourage it."
The Foreign Ministry, which throughout the day held consultations with the British Foreign Office, had no comment on the decision.
Among Israel's arguments to the Foreign Office were that there was no precedent anywhere for the arrest of a sitting defense minister; that the petition was driven by political motivations; that the arrest would cause irreparable damage to Israeli-British ties; and that it would set a dangerous precedent for other countries - like Britain - that found themselves fighting terrorists.
Israel's ambassador to the UK, Ron Prosor, said the petition was a "continuation of the demonization and delegitimization of Israel." He said the embassy had worked closely with the British government to get the petition thrown out.
While this was the first such case since the publication of the Goldstone Report earlier this month, diplomatic officials were hesitant to draw a direct line, saying such attempts had been made against Israeli defense officials in the past.
"This petition is based on nothing but bad will, bad faith and Israel-bashing gathered from newspaper clippings and the occasional human rights report," Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said. "Its only intent is to harass Israeli officials and promote Israeli-bashing."
The petition was brought by a Gaza-based human rights group, al-Mezan, on behalf of a group of 16 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip. Al-Mezan, in turn, instructed two London law firms - Irvine Thanvi and Natas (ITN) and Imran Khan and Partners - to represent the group. During the proceedings, the two firms applied for an international arrest warrant, claiming that Barak had committed war crimes and breaches of the Geneva Convention during Operation Cast Lead.
Despite the petition - and advice that Channel 1 said came from Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, recommending that he leave Britain immediately - Barak decided not to change his plans for the UK visit. His bureau released a statement saying, "No arrest warrant has been issued, and in any event, he has immunity due to his being a minister in the government."
In addition to meeting with Brown and Ainsworth on Tuesday, Barak addressed a Labor Friends of Israel reception during the Labor Party's annual conference in Brighton on Tuesday night. He is scheduled to meet with Miliband on Wednesday.
A loophole in British law - in the International Criminal Court Act of 2001 and the Criminal Justice Act of 1988 - allows private individual complaints of "war crimes" to be lodged against military personnel, even if they are not British citizens and the alleged crimes were committed elsewhere.
Pro-Palestinian groups in Britain and other countries have been trying to exploit that loophole against IDF officers and Israeli aleaders. Israel has been working with the British government for years to change the law.
Israeli defense officials said Barak's security detail had not been beefed up as a result of the arrest threat.
Last week the British chief of staff, Air Chief Marshall Sir Jock Stirrup, visited Israel for talks with IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, which focused on the possibility that arrest warrants would be issued against officers for their involvement in Operation Cast Lead.
"Barak is not concerned about being arrested," an official in his office said on Tuesday. "Even though there may be a slight risk, he is purposely staying in England to show them that he is not concerned and that Israelis do not have to run away."
Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.

David Guyatt
09-30-2009, 11:08 AM
I haven't seen reference to this anywhere else yet - par for the course I guess - but the reported UK Foreign Office argument for rejecting the petition to arrest Erhud Barak for war crimes is interesting:
..... the defense minister was a state guest, and therefore was not subject to such lawsuits.I wonder what argument would have been deployed had he NOT been a 'State guest' ?



The mind boggles. It seems to suggest that crimes - even terrible ones - don't count if you have made a decision to entertain the perpetrator.

Utterly ridiculous and culpable reasoning.

Jan Klimkowski
09-30-2009, 07:50 PM
I wonder if New Labour's apparatchiks will have the nerve to cite the common law precedent supporting their wanton making up of law as they go along.

The obvious common law precedent is, of course, Thatcher taking afternoon tea - a very British tradition - with the fascist Condor war criminal and murderer, Generalissimo Pinochet.

Peter Presland
10-05-2009, 04:15 PM
Probably the best place for this.

There's no doubt that the Israeli top brass are nervous about foreign travel. They appear to have managed to get the UN to delay (http://english.aljazeera.net//news/middleeast/2009/10/2009104101950899415.html) a vote on the Goldstone report (http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/specialsession/9/FactFindingMission.htm) but, in spite of furious damage-limitation manoeuvrings by their allies at the UN, the writing IS on the wall. They ARE a bunch of bloody war criminals and time is NOT on their side.

This from Al-Jazeera: (http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/10/2009105131539124969.html)

Israel's vice-prime minister has cancelled a planned trip to London over fears that he could be arrested for alleged war crimes, his spokesman has said.

Moshe Yaalon called off the trip fearing that pro-Palestinian groups in London might seek his trial for his role in the 2002 deaths of 15 people, including a Hamas leader and eight children.
Yaalon was the military chief-of-staff when an Israeli fighter jet dropped a one-tonne bomb in Gaza City, killing Salah Shehadeh, the head of the armed wing of Hamas, along with his wife.

Israel's foreign ministry advised against the planned trip after it emerged that Yaalon, who is also strategic affairs minister, had been invited to attend a fund-raising dinner hosted by the British branch of the Jewish National Fund.
Last Tuesday Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, dismissed a bid to have him arrested in Britain as "absurd" while attending the governing Labour party's annual conference.

British activists had sought his arrest over Israel's offensive on the Gaza Strip in December-January, where more than 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.
The request was denied on the grounds of diplomatic immunity.
Yaalon has form quite apart from his role in the recent Gaza massacre. He has been indicted by both New Zealand and Spanish courts for earlier alleged crimes. Both courts succumbed to the usual pressure - details on my 'Wanted for War Crimes' blog here (http://wantedforwarcrimes.blogspot.com/2009/02/moshe-bogie-yaalon.html)

Peter Presland
10-06-2009, 07:03 AM
More on postponement of UN discussion of the Goldstone report. It was done at the request of the PLO leadership. So why would the nominal (though illegitimate since the presidential term expired last January) Palestinian leadership do such a thing?

Norman Finkelstein has the answer (http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/oh-people-of-palestineif-not-bulletspray-tellwhere-are-your-shoes/). It stinks to the heavens but has a solid ring of routine Israeli modus operandi to it. Abu Mazen and his cronies are clearly so compromised that I doubt they will escape with their lives if the general Palestinian population ever get a say in the matter

Ma’ariv (p. 5) by Amit Cohen et al. — A Palestinian press agency claims that the surprising decision by Palestinian Authority officials to postpone the discussion of the Goldstone report in the UN Human Rights Council is the result of an Israeli threat. According to a report by Shihab, the Palestinian Authority refused Israel’s demand that it withdraw its support for the harsh report, which Israel considered one-sided. Following this, Israeli figures showed the PA a series of tapes in which Palestinian Authority officials could be heard urging Israel to continue the operation in Gaza. Israel threatened to reveal the material to media outlets as well as to the UN and this, in turn, resulted in the Palestinian retreat. It was further claimed that the Palestinians were shown footage showing a meeting between Abu Mazen, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and then foreign minister Tzippi Livni. In the course of the meeting, according to the report, Abu Mazen attempted to convince Barak to continue the operation. Barak appeared hesitant whereas Abu Mazen was enthusiastic. In addition, a telephone conversation recording between Abed Al-Rahim, secretary general of the Palestinian Authority and director of Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi’s bureau was presented. The Palestinian senior official can be heard saying that now is the time to bring ground forces into the Jabalya and Shati refugee camps. “The fall of these two camps will bring about the fall of the Hamas regime in Gaza, and will cause them to wave a white flag,” says Abed Al-Rahim. According to the report, Dov Weissglas told Abed Al-Rahim that such a move could result in the deaths of thousands of civilians. “They all voted for Hamas,” says Abed Al-Rahim, “they chose their fate, not us.” Following Hamas’s allegations against him, Abu Mazen ordered the establishment of an investigative committee to examine the cause for the postponement of the discussion of the Goldstone report, which sparked a furor and much criticism in the Palestinian street. Officially, Israel argues that Abu Mazen withdrew his request for the discussion as a result of Netanyahu making it clear that such a move would greatly harm the peace process.PS The Goldstone Report probably warrants a separate thread but I posted this here because of my referral to postponement of the report in my previous post.

Magda Hassan
10-06-2009, 12:23 PM
If true, which I suspect, it is shameful behaviour on the part of Abu Mazen and co. Dead men walking. Israel's behaviour doesn't surprise me in the least. Just par for the course.

Peter Presland
10-06-2009, 01:25 PM
If true, which I suspect, it is shameful behaviour on the part of Abu Mazen and co. Dead men walking. Israel's behaviour doesn't surprise me in the least. Just par for the course.
Magda

It does have a certain ring to it doesn't it?

As I recall there were accusations at the time of the PLO urging Israel on in its Gaza offensive. This is further evidence of that.

And when you think about it, it would surely require something of comparable gravity for any Palestinian to seek to postpone UN adoption of that report. The official line is that they 'didn't want to jeapardise the peace process' - seriously - the bloody PEACE PROCESS. You don't have to be a Palestinian to see the absolute farce of that.

There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that Israel has something MAJOR on the PLO - and this fits the bill to a tee.

Keith Millea
10-06-2009, 04:16 PM
According to the report, Dov Weissglas told Abed Al-Rahim that such a move could result in the deaths of thousands of civilians. “They all voted for Hamas,” says Abed Al-Rahim, “they chose their fate, not us.”

Someone is going to get a spanking!!!!!!!!

:secruity:

David Guyatt
10-07-2009, 02:15 PM
Someone is going to get a spanking!!!!!!!!

:secruity:

For a second I thought I'd hit the wrong link and entered an S & M website.

But all is well that ends in a spanked botty, I suppose.

Keith Millea
10-07-2009, 04:12 PM
Someone is going to get a spanking!!!!!!!!

:secruity:

For a second I thought I'd hit the wrong link and entered an S & M website.

But all is well that ends in a spanked botty, I suppose.


Oh crap,I thought I was posting to my "special friend".I've been outed!!!!!

:wavey:

Peter Presland
03-04-2010, 07:45 AM
The issue of universal jurisdiction of the UK courts in the matter of suspected war crimes has been bubbling away over here ever since Tzipi Livni cancelled her scheduled visit back in December last year (http://wantedforwarcrimes.blogspot.com/2009/12/more-on-tzipi-livni-london-trip.html)

She has since threatened to come to London specifically to test the legislation (http://wantedforwarcrimes.blogspot.com/2010/02/tzipi-livni-to-visit-london-to-test.html)

This morning we get the following truly puke inducing stuff penned by none other then Gordon Brown in the Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/gordon-brown/7361967/Britain-must-protect-foreign-leaders-from-arrest.html)

I really am lost for words:

Britain must protect foreign leaders from private arrest warrants

In recent years the world has made huge progress in the way it acts against those suspected of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.


Significantly, the United Nations has embraced our responsibility to intervene in countries where such atrocities are being committed.
And the complement to this is the principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows for prosecution in any country of certain serious offences wherever and by whoever they were committed.
It is our moral duty to ensure that there is no hiding place for those suspected of the most serious international crimes.
Britain will continue to take action to prosecute or extradite suspected war criminals – regardless of their status or power.
This is why the UK was among the first countries in the world to put in place legislation providing for universal jurisdiction over torture, hostage taking and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.
Without universal jurisdiction the Afghan warlord Faryadi Zardad, who had fled to London on a fake passport, would not have been brought to justice for a merciless campaign of terror in his homeland.
Britain will always honour its commitment to international justice. The police here remain ready to investigate cases; the Crown Prosecution Service to bring them; the courts to hear them.
But the process by which we take action must guarantee the best results.
The only question for me is whether our purpose is best served by a process where an arrest warrant for the gravest crimes can be issued on the slightest of evidence.
As we have seen, there is now significant danger of such a provision being exploited by politically-motivated organisations or individuals who set out only to grab headlines knowing their case has no realistic chance of a successful prosecution.
Men and woman can then be held in prison on the basis of 'information', when the serious nature of such cases means that in any event they can only proceed to prosecution with the consent of the Attorney General.
There is already growing reason to believe that some people are not prepared to travel to this country for fear that such a private arrest warrant – motivated purely by political gesture – might be sought against them.
These are sometimes people representing countries and interests with which the UK must engage if we are not only to defend our national interest but maintain and extend an influence for good across the globe.
Britain cannot afford to have its standing in the world compromised for the sake of tolerating such gestures.
There is a case now, therefore, for the evidential basis on which arrest warrants can be allowed to be tougher and for restricting the right to prosecute the narrow range of crimes falling under universal jurisdiction to the Crown Prosecution Service alone.
Such a modification requires legislation. It is also extremely controversial in some quarters, involving as it does the long-standing right of private prosecution. So we will consult on our proposals to improve the system, with my full intention to legislate as soon as possible.
Britain remains absolutely committed to upholding the principles of universal jurisdiction. And where individuals or organisations have genuine grounds for allegations that any of the offences in question have been committed we encourage them to bring forward evidence to the police.
But by bringing the risk of arrest into closer alignment with the risk of prosecution, our system of universal jurisdiction can be stronger. For it would be clear that we only bring cases based on evidence of sufficient strength to convince the Director of Public Prosecutions that there is a credible case.
With this approach, I am confident that an amendment on better enforcement of existing legislation will serve to enhance Britain's status in the eyes of international law, world opinion and history.

Magda Hassan
03-04-2010, 08:08 AM
Because he can see himself and his 'friends' in the same situation. Everyone has to be equal before the law but some are more equal than others.

David Guyatt
03-04-2010, 08:31 AM
It is our moral duty to ensure that there is no hiding place for those suspected of the most serious international crimes.
Britain will continue to take action to prosecute or extradite suspected war criminals – regardless of their status or power.

The theory - now the facts.

Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, was arrested as he landed at London's Heathrow airport in 1998 on a human rights warrant (torture) issued by a Spanish judge. He was held under house arrest in sumptuous accommodation on the millionaires Wentworth Estate, while his case dragged through the courts. He was released after much wrangling and gnashing of teeth by the likes of former Her Fuhrership, Margaret Thatcher, former His Fuhrerness, George (Poppy)Bush, and others in the International Arms Trade and Fuck You Party.

Pinohet was eventually released by the court (i.e., the Lords) because it was deemed that the arrest was invalid because it was for crime committed before 1988, the year when UK legislation was implemented for the UN Convention Against Torture in the Crimial Justice Act 1988.

The moral of this story is that where there is a will (and usually some cash involved), there is always wiggle room for finding the appropriate hiding place.