Israel PM seeks to protect soldiers from Gaza war crimes charges

[JURIST] Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert [official website] pledged Sunday to protect members of his country's military [official website] involved in Gaza operations from prosecution by foreign entities in remarks [text] at a weekly cabinet meeting. After insisting that Israeli forces had gone out of their way to avoid injuring civilians during their Gaza actions [BBC materials], Olmert said:

The State of Israel will fully back those who acted on its behalf. [Justice] Minister [Daniel] Friedmann – along with senior civil-service jurists, international and military law experts – will formulate answers to possible questions regarding IDF operations, which the self-righteous are liable to raise concerning the character of the Israeli fighting and its results. The soldiers and commanders who were sent on missions in Gaza must know that they are safe from various tribunals and that the State of Israel will assist them on this issue and defend them just as they bodily defended us during Operation Cast Lead.
Last week, Olmert placed [JURIST report] Daniel Friedmann in charge of defending Israel against war crimes claims. Iran says it is already taking steps to bring war crimes charges [Press TV report] over Israel's actions in Gaza.

Amnesty International has also accused Israel of war crimes [JURIST report], citing the use of white phosphorous in the midst of a dense civilian population. International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has said the ICC lacks jurisdiction [JURIST report] to investigate possible war crimes committed by Israel, because it is not a member state.


 

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