24-25 September Brussels
The Tribunal in Brussels was an extraordinary session called in response to the latest Israeli attack on Gaza: the euphemistically named operation protective edge. The session, as juror Richard Falk wrote, “was brought into being because of the enormity of the devastation and the spectacle of horror associated with high technology weaponry attacking the civilian population of Gaza locked into a combat zone that left no place to hide.”
The cruelty and injustice of the attack on Gaza brought hundreds of thousands onto the streets. Citizens from Tokyo to LA marched in sorrow and in anger – and the huge majority of their democratically elected governments ignored them. It’s a testament to the heart, the will and the efficiency of the Tribunal that within a matter of weeks it had called on its friends and supporters, pieced together the money needed for the session, mobilized volunteers, and summoned its jury and its legal team to Brussels.
On hearing the evidence, the jury, composed of twelve eminent international personalities, issued their findings, which are presented below. They characterise the crimes committed by Israel during summer 2014 as war crimes (wilful killing; extensive destruction of property not justified by military necessity; intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against civilians who are not directly involved in the hostilities; disproportionate use of force; intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to religion or education and against hospitals that are not military targets; use of Palestinians as human shields; use of weapons, projectiles, and material and methods of warfare which are of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering or which are inherently indiscriminate; use of violence primarily to spread terror among the civilian population) and Crimes against humanity (murder, persecution and extermination). The jury also found evidence of the crime of incitement to genocide inasmuch as a parallel can be drawn between the crimes committed in Gaza with full impunity and the increase in racist rhetoric and incitement to violence during the summer of 2014 at different levels of Israeli society: on the traditional or social media and by, for instance, police officers, religious leaders, public representatives and football fans. This prompted the RToP to alert decision-makers in the United Nations and the European Union to the real risk of genocide being perpetrated against the people of Gaza and to call for the lifting of the illegal blockade of Gaza and for assistance to be provided to the 600,000 displaced persons and the 11,600 injured victims of the war. The RToP also condemns the pressure that is being brought to bear by the European Union on Palestinian decision-makers to prevent them from joining the International Criminal Court and calls on the United Nations and the European Union to impose political and economic sanctions and an arms embargo on Israel until such time as it complies with its obligations under international law. Lastly, the RToP encourages civil society through the world to develop boycott, divestment and sanctions initiatives and to exert pressure on governments to take the requisite measures to prevent Israel from violating Palestinian rights and to recognise the State of Palestine.
Pierre GALAND General Coordinator of the RToP
RToP Website: http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.com/en/
Press clips Emergency session on Gaza
-Ronnie Kasrils on Al Jazeera English
-Ewa Jasiewicz on Mondoweiss
-Frank Barat on Breaking the Set with Abby Martin
-Il Manifesto (Italian)
– Courrier de l’atlas (Nadir Dendoune Francais)
-TV Belge, RTBF (Francais):
-Ahdaf Soueif (Arabic):