Tuesday, 29 October, LAW and PCHR acting on behalf of specific individuals and families in the West Bank and Gaza instructed British human rights solicitor Imran Khan to lodge complaints on behalf of their clients in relation to the perpetration of war crimes and crimes against humanity, in particular naming Shaul Mofaz, former Chief of Staff of the Israeli military as a potential defendant.
Imran Khan has been instructed to represent these individuals in the UK. He has instructed the British Palestinian QC Michel Massih as Counsel. The complaints have been lodged in the names of these individual victims and their families. They have not been lodged in the name of any organizations, including the Muslim Association for Britain, contrary to the report in Haaretz this morning.
LAW’s director Shawqi Issa said, “We were made aware that Shaul Mofaz was present in London. So we forwarded to Imran Khan cases on behalf of a variety of individuals and families of victims. The victims and their families are asking for the immediate arrest of Shaul Mofaz before he leaves the UK, a full investigation, and the ultimate prosecution of Shaun Mofaz and all others responsible for the perpetration of war crimes or crimes against humanity against them or their deceased relatives.”
The complaints cover a broad range of different violations amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity, including under article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. They include individual wilful killings of civilians, State assassinations which also amount to willful killings, destruction of homes and agricultural land and crops, and torture – all violations for which Mofaz may be held accountable, in particular during his time as Chief of Staff between 1998 – July 9, 2002.
The claims were lodged with the director of Public Prosecutions of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in the UK. It considered the claim, and yesterday referred it to the Crimes against Humanity division of the British Metropolitan Police for investigation. Together with the Crown Prosecution Service they shall decide whether any action can be taken, including issuing an arrest warrant for Mofaz.
The UK is a high contracting party to the Fourth Geneva Conventions, and as such has specific obligations to search for, investigate and prosecute those responsible for grave breaches under the Convention.
LAW’s director, Shawqi Issa stated: “Legally speaking its not possible for the Metropolitan police or CPS or Attorney General to fail to take action. The prima facie evidence warrants a full and immediate investigation and the immediate arrest of Shaul Mofaz.”
Issa further emphasized that “These cases should not be subjected to any political processes. The British institutions, namely the Crown Prosecution Service, Police and Attorney General have legal obligations to conduct a proper and effective investigation, and not tainted by any political considerations. The law should simply be applied equally against Mofaz and other Israelis responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity as it would be against any other individual.”
These actions have taken place the same time a new bill was tabled 30 October 2002 in the Israeli Knesset seeking to criminalize any assistance rendered by an Israeli citizen to the International Criminal Court. Under the bill, any assistance by an Israeli citizen to the ICC would be punishable by up to ten years’ imprisonment. The bill includes a detailed list of proscribed acts, liable to such a punishment, including the provision of any information such as writings, photographs, documents, opinions and reports; the collection, keeping and preparation and transfer of information; holding of investigations and recording of their results. Additionally, any association engaged in any such activities would be liable to be disbanded.