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Human Rights

On learning lessons: Belgium's universal jurisdiction law under threat

Laurie King
24 June 2003

“In an unprecedented act of interference in a sovereign state’s judicial and political processes, the US government yesterday forced the Belgian government to gut Belgium’s admirable and progressive universal jurisdiction legislation (anti- atrocity law), which had already undergone careful reconfiguration in Belgium’s parliament two months ago. The US feared that this law, which incorporates international law into Belgian national law, might lead to the prosecution of US military or governmental officials, or their possible arrest in Belgium. Numerous legal impediments to these possibilities exist. Belgium outlined all of them in an attempt to deflect US pressure, but to no avail in the face of US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s strong-arm techniques of persuasion.” Laurie King-Irani explains.

Weekly report on human rights violations

19 June 2003

This week Israeli forces killed 17 Palestinians, including two children and a woman. In extra-judicial executions 14 Palestinians were killed. Israeli forces conducted a series of incursions into Palestinian areas. In Rafah, Israeli forces demolished more than 29 homes and razed large areas of agricultural land throughout the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces continued indiscriminate shelling of Palestinian residential areas and demolished three homes belonging to families of wanted Palestinians. Israeli forces rounded up more Palestinian men and boys and continued to impose its tight siege on Palestinian communities.

The Knesset: Enshrining Racism in Law

18 June 2003

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Today, the Knesset approved the first reading of a bill submitted by the government that rescinds the right of Israeli residents and citizens who have married residents of the Occupied Territories to establish their home in Israel.

International legal export: Israel's assassinations are war crimes

17 June 2003

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In an opinion, unprecedented for it�s severity, Professor Antonio Cassese, renowned expert on international humanitarian law, determines that the assassinations carried out by the IDF in the Occupied Territories could be included in the legal definition of war crimes. Professor Cassese�s opinion will be submitted tomorrow to the High Court of Justice prior to the hearing scheduled for July 8, 2003 on the petition filed by LAW-The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI).

Promises of an unpredicatable future

Jordan Topp
19 June 2003

There is no work this summer for the majority of people in Bourj el Barajneh refugee camp. Less work than last summer, I am told, when local NGOs estimated unemployment rates were around 60- 80% for those Palestinians living here. With hope of Return looking bleaker under current negotiations, people here—especially the young men—are doing whatever they can to leave. Jordan Topp reports from Bourj el Barajneh Refugee Camp, Beirut, Lebanon.

Israeli forces attack medical center

13 June 2003

At 3am this morning, the Israeli occupying army surrounded and blocked the village, declaring a curfew. At 12pm some of the villagers heard cries for help. They discovered that the army was burying alive three of the villagers who were seeking safety in a cave. The soldiers shut off the entrance to the cave. The villagers attempted to rescue them but were shot at by the army.

Israeli forces attack medical center - update

14 June 2003

Following on from yesterdays attack on the village of Deir Ghassaneh, where the Israeli occupying army surrounded and entered the village, declared a curfew, buried alive villagers, and shot and arrested other villagers, UPMRC published an update to the attacks.

Two shot along the border in Rafah

Lora Gordon
15 June 2003

An Israeli occupation forces tank has just shot two people, one 10-year-old and one 23-year-old, in the Brazil area of Rafah in the Gaza Strip. The 23-year-old is in critical condition. Both were taken immediately to Al-Najar Hospital in Rafah for treatment.

Israel's use of "Orders Prohibiting Meeting with Counsel" increase risk of torture

13 June 2003

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Eric Sottas, director of the World Organization Against Torture sent a letter to Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon calling on him to order the immediate cessation of the use of Orders Prohibiting Meeting with Counsel and any other practices that increase the risk of torture and to take all measures necessary to ensure that the absolute prohibition of torture is recognised by Israeli law.

Israel bulldozes Palestinian buildings at Rafah crossing point

Lora Gordon
13 June 2003

We thought they would bomb the Gaza International Airport but instead they bulldozed the Palestinian-run buildings at Rafah Crossing Point (RCP), officially/unofficially ending the Palestinian-Israeli joint supervision intended for the checkpoint since it was reorganized under the Cairo Agreement after Oslo. Laura Gordon writes from occupied Rafah.

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