Sunday, January 18, 2009

Expecting Wave of Lawsuits, Israel Launches "Incrimination Team" to Prepare

Irish Sun, January 16, 2009 - A number of human rights organizations, and the International Red Cross, have already indicated they are looking at breaches of international law. The whole question of the legality of the Gaza War is also being examined.

Amnesty International has written to the United Nations Security Council calling for the establishment of full accountability for crimes committed in the Gaza conflict and for deployment of human rights monitors.

In the letter, Amnesty says it wants the Security Council to “take firm action to ensure full accountability for war crimes and other serious abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law.”

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has ordered the Israeli army to establish a task force comprising operational, intelligence, and legal experts, to assemble information, documentation, and footage of military operations during the offensive, which will assist in the defence of officers against legal actions expected to be filed by a number of international bodies.

The task forced named “Incrimination Team” is presently examining all footage taken by the Israeli army of the Gaza operation since it began.

Israeli Attorney General Menahem Mazuz warned the government earlier this week a “wave of international lawsuits” was expected.

"We need to be prepared for the potential lawsuits that will be filed against senior officers," a defense official told The Jerusalem Post. "The team will review the footage and intelligence information and formulate arguments that can be used to defend against claims that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza." The footage collected by the team was filmed by regular combat soldiers who received special training on how to film and document military operations under combat conditions.

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