Saturday, 15 March 2008

Lebanon war mock tribunal condemns Israel and U.S.

Follow-up on:
Israel on trial in Brussels - a prelude to Durban II?
The latest in a long list of initiatives in Europe to demonise Israel

John Catalinotto reports on the condemnation of Israel by the "Peoples' Court".
From the Ramsey Clark's International Action Center website

"A four-member jury of distinguished legal officials, after hearing and considering two days of intense, moving and precise testimony at the International Associations Center in Brussels, Belgium, on Feb. 24 found the Israeli state guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in its 2006 war on Lebanon.

Some 250 people filling the center stood as one to applaud as Judge Adolfo Abascal from Cuba finished reading the decision. Those in the courtroom, many from Lebanon or from the Lebanese diaspora, already knew or had heard enough to make up their minds. But a formal decision based on a body of evidence can more effectively counter reactionary imperialist propaganda in the corporate media.
The organizers counted on the media coverage of the hearing - which was broadcast throughout the Arab world and in Latin America in whole or in part - to bring a convincing statement of Israeli guilt of serious war crimes to their audiences throughout the world. In the imperialist countries it will be up to progressive media and organizations in solidarity with the liberation struggles to spread the news of the tribunal.

There was representative support from organizations in Europe and the U.S., including present and former European Union parliamentary members Louisa Morgantini from Italy and Miguel Urbano Rodrigues from Portugal, and former MP Ángeles Maestro from Spain. Human rights, anti-war and anti-imperialist organizations sent representatives to watch, participate and report on the hearings.
Introducing the verdict, Justice Lilia Solana made sure to also inculpate the United States for its complicity in the war. The final decision was that the judges "declare the Israeli authorities in charge of the 2006 war against Lebanon guilty of the following international crimes:
1. war crimes
2. crimes against humanity
3. genocide."

Final verdict here

Whereas John Catalinotto indicated that the organizers "counted on the media coverage of the hearing - which was broadcast throughout the Arab world and in Latin America" (organized in Europe for the Arab world – this is intriguing!) Miguel Tavares Rodrigues (an 83-old Portuguese communist) offered a conspirationist and more colourful version of the trials and tribulations of the Peoples' court and their supporters (translated for this blog):

"Al Jazeera TV broadcast the proceedings in full to Arab countries. The so-called mainstream European, as well as Belgian, media ignored the event.
Their silence was the result of pressure from the US Embassy in Brussels, but mainly from the Israeli Embassy, which lobbied actively with a view to preventing the Tribunal from meeting in the Belgian capital city.
The event venue had to be changed because of intimidation and foreign delegations also had to change hotels due to Israeli pressure.
Distinguished members of the organizing committee received repeated phone threats.
It became clear that Mossad, the Israeli political police, operatives were very active before and during the event.
Lawyers and magistrates were unable to attend because they were not granted visas.
Sabotage attempts to prevent the Tribunal from successfully fulfilling its mission failed."

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