The Belgian Supreme Court has ruled that the Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon could indeed be tried for war crimes and genocide in Belgium. The trial will proceed once Sharon leaves office and is no longer protected by the immunity extended to acting heads of government. The Court decided, however, that a similar complaint against general Amos Yaron, the former Army chief of staff in charge of Israeli troops in Beirut, could go ahead now. Both men are sued by Palestinian survivors of the 1982 Sabra and Shatila refugee camps massacres.
Dulles NOW activists applaud the historical decisions, major breakthroughs for international law and for international justice. It is a long-deserved victory for the survivors. More will follow as cases against war criminals in other nations are pending in the Belgium courts.
Rabbi David Forman, Chairman of Rabbis for Human Rights, commented that the Israelis should be the ones to put Sharon and his henchmen on trial in Israel, not only for the crimes they committed then but also for the 'ongoing killing of the innocent now". He is right. Unfortunately, Ariel Sharon, found "personally" responsible for the atrocities by a 1983 internal Israeli investigation, was promoted head of state instead, recently maintained in this position with the help of his American friends. Sharon, an open admirer of Hitlerian tactics, wasted no time in resuming his seemingly compulsive murderous rampage against more civilian-packed Palestinian refugee camps.
The lawyers who fought to indict Sharon had the encouragement of an international campaign we were proud to join. They ought to be loudly acclaimed for their remarkable accomplishment. Already, Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter cancelled a planned trip to Belgium for fear of arrest because of his role in Israel's 'counter-terrorist' actions in the occupied territories. This is a first.