Saturday, February 7, 2009

Opinion: Close Up - Upholding Justice - Salama A Salama

Al Ahram Weekly, February 5-11, 2009 - At a time when the Arab League and the Egyptian Foreign Ministry are documenting Israel's war crimes in the recent onslaught against Gaza, some European countries -- including Spain -- are thinking of changing their laws to ensure that Israeli war criminals are never brought to trial in their courts.

Fouad Abdel-Moneim Riyad, one of Egypt's top legal experts and a former judge at the International Criminal Court, says that available evidence indicates that Israel committed genocide in Gaza. His views are shared by fair-minded Israelis, including historian Ilan Pappe. Some of Israel's crimes are believed to have exceeded in cruelty the crimes committed in the last decade in Bosnia.

The problem, however, is that the procedures for trying war criminals in any particular country are subject to international calculations and political pressures, some of which are not necessarily in our favour as Arabs. It is therefore advisable for Arab countries to seek the help of civil institutions and appeal to conscientious individuals to assist in building the legal case and bringing Israeli criminals to justice.

The atrocities that have been committed need to become public knowledge, for they constitute crimes against humanity and an impediment to efforts aiming to promote human rights....

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