Belgium Supreme Court rules that Ariel Sharon can be tried for genocide

Sharon could be tried for genocide
16.56PM GMT, 12 Feb 2003

Sharon was defence minister at the time of the massacre

Belgium’s supreme appeals court has ruled that a genocide lawsuit against Ariel Sharon could go ahead once his term as prime minister of Israel ends.

The ruling opens the way for survivors of a 1982 massacre of Palestinian refugees to press their case against the Israeli leader, who they hold responsible for the deaths of hundreds of their kin in Israeli-occupied Beirut.

The survivors had appealed against a lower court ruling last June that Sharon could not be prosecuted for the massacre in the Sabra and Shatila camps in Beirut because he was not in Belgium.

But the plaintiffs are using a Belgian human rights law which claims universal jurisdiction allowing the country’s courts to try crimes against humanity and genocide, no matter where they were committed.

Sharon was defence minister at the time of the massacre.