Belgian couple may sue Israel for war crimes in Lebanon conflict

[JURIST] A Belgian ethnic Lebanese couple is preparing a legal complaint against Israel for alleged war crimes during the ongoing Mideast conflict [JURIST news archive] after Ali Abdul-Sater and his wife had to flee Lebanon via Syria with their three children when Israel launched airstrikes against Hezbollah [US State Dept. backgrounder] earlier this month. An apartment where they were staying on holiday was destroyed in the strikes. Belgian daily Le Soir reported the action Thursday, saying it was going to be filed that day, but a lawyer for the couple later said case preparation was ongoing. If the couple files the complaint, "war crimes" will be defined according to the terms of the Belgian criminal code, embracing purposeful murder, severe violations of the physical integrity of health, deportation of civilians and the destruction and misappropriation of goods.

The complaint would be based on Belgian application of the principle of universal jurisdiction [HRW backgrounder], which allows war crimes complaints from other countries in Belgian courts as long as there is some link to Belgium, and would target Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert [official website], Defense Minister Amir Peretz [ministry website] and army Chief of Staff Dan Halutz. EJP has more.



 

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