AP: Israel Studies War Crimes Problem
By MOSHE WEIZMAN
JERUSALEM (AP) _ Israel
has compiled a list of countries where
its political and military leaders _
including Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon _ could face legal challenges under war
crimes laws, an
official said Thursday.
Foreign Ministry decided to ``map'' countries around
the world in light of
requests from several current and retired
security officials who wanted to
know whether they might be
arrested or prosecuted while traveling abroad,
Emmanuel Nachshon said.
He did not
mention which countries would be considered
problematic for Israeli
officials. But the ministry said Israel
wanted to prevent ``the
politicization'' of the international
Two recent incidents have given the issue prominence in
In Belgium, a Palestinian filed a complaint
accusing him of responsibility in 1982 in the killing of
of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Sharon was defense minister
the time the killings were carried out by a Lebanese Christian
allied with Lebanon.
Belgium has a law that allows for the
prosecution of war crimes,
wherever they occurred.
Denmark, lawmakers have threatened to file a complaint
designated ambassador to Denmark, Carmi Gilon. In
a recent interview, Gilon
said that when he was head of Israel's
security service, the Shin Bet, he
authorized torture of Arab
suspects to prevent imminent attacks. The Israeli
Supreme Court has
since outlawed the practice.
``acknowledges the need to compile a list of countries
authority enables them to act against foreign
citizens for acts committed in
foreign countries,'' read the
statement by the Foreign Ministry.
Sharon told Israel radio there was ``an attempt to harm
and the Jewish people, and thus there is activity to stop
The complaint filed against Sharon in
Belgium was a preliminary
move, and a Belgian judge has yet to decide on
whether the case
An Israeli government
investigation in the 1980s found Sharon
indirectly responsible for the
killings in Lebanon, forcing him to
step down as defense minister.
In Gilon's case, Danish lawmakers, politicians and human
activists have called on Israel to withdraw his candidacy,
Israel insists it will not do so. Gilon is to begin his new job
Copenhagen on Aug. 15.
Danish Justice Minister Frank
Jensen said Wednesday that Gilon
would not be arrested, noting that he would
immunity as an ambassador.
President Moshe Katzav criticized Denmark on Thursday,
insisting that Gilon,
as chief of the Shin Bet, ``acted according
to the Israeli government's
``Denmark has never spoken out against
added. THURSDAY JULY 26
Danes hint at arrest of Israeli 'torture' envoy
FROM SAM KILEY IN
JERUSALEM THE Danish Justice Minister yesterday issued a thinly
veiled threat to arrest Israel¹s newly appointed Ambassador to Copenhagen on
Carmi Gillon headed Israel¹s Shin Bet domestic
intelligence service between 1994 and 1996 and has admitted authorising the
torture of prisoners, most of them Palestinians, during that period.
Torture of any kind was outlawed by Israel¹s supreme court last year.
Frank Jensen, the Justice Minister, said in a parliamentary written
answer to an extreme left-wing opposition party that Denmark was obliged by the
United Nations convention on torture to take into custody anyone who could
justifiably be suspected of complicity in torture who set foot on Danish soil.
His statement came after a row broke out when Mr Gillon told a Danish
newspaper, soon after his appointment was announced, that Israel might return to
the use of torture, which he described as ³moderate physical pressure², in the
fight against terrorism.
Ariel Sharon, Israel¹s Prime Minister, was
recently forced to bypass Belgium on a European tour because he was in danger of
being arrested under a local law for alleged war crimes committed in Lebanon in
But human rights groups, including many run by Palestinians, have
pointed out that the prosecution of capital offences in areas under the control
of Yassir Arafat, head of the Palestinian Authority, fall far below accepted
In addition, torture is commonplace in Palestinian
jails, where confessions are often extracted from prisoners after prolonged
beatings, sometimes meted out by the very men who were themselves the victims of
Israeli torture only a few years ago.
Yesterday Shimon Peres, Israel¹s
Foreign Minister, stood by Mr Gillon¹s appointment. ³If Denmark acts according
to this method it cannot allow in any member of the PLO (Palestine Liberation
Organisation) who at one time was involved in terrorism,² he said.
it permitted to be involved in terror but forbidden to fight terror? Will they
boycott all the members of the PLO? Will they boycott Iran and Iraq?² Mr Peres
Israel has been condemned for a policy of what the European Union
recently called ³extra-judicial executions² ‹ the killing of suspected
Yesterday Israel killed Salah Darwaza, an alleged Hamas
member and suspected master bomber, by shelling his car near Nablus. The army
claimed that he had been behind ³massive terrorist attacks in Israel².
Palestinian groups fighting either for an independent state, the
destruction of Israel, or both, have faced little criticism from human rights
groups for the killing of civilians, prompting Mr Peres to accuse the Danish of
³double moral standards².