Palestinian victims submit legal complaints against Israeli authorities in Switzerland

Anne-Catherine Menetrey-Savary, member of the Swiss Parliament, Raji Sourani, Director of PCHR and Marcel Bosonnet, a Swiss attorney, in a press conference held in Berne about the complaints (Photo: PCHR, 2003)


Yesterday, Swiss attorney, Marcel Bosonnet, and Director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Raji Sourani, submitted two complaints to the Swiss Military Attorney General in Berne on behalf of Palestinian victims.  One complaint is in respect of Palestinians whose homes were demolished by Israeli occupying forces; the second complaint is in respect of Palestinians who were subjected to torture and ill treatment in detention by the Israeli security services. 

The complaints call for investigation and prosecution of those responsible for these acts.  In particular, the complaints call for investigations of former Israeli Minister of Defence, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer; former Chief of Staff of the Israeli military, Shaul Mofaz; former head of Israel’s General Security Services, Avi Dichter; and former head of the Israeli military Southern Command, Doron Almoge.  The Swiss Military Attorney General accepted the complaints and promised to follow necessary legal procedures. 

Anne-Catherine Menetrey-Savary, member of the Swiss Parliament, Raji Sourani, Director of PCHR and Marcel Bosonnet and Tobias Schnebli, member of Switzerland Without an Army (Photo: PCHR, 2003)


Swiss law provides for the search for and prosecution of those responsible for ordering or commiting grave breaches of international humanitarian law.  This legislation is based on the obligations set out in article 146 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949 (the Fourth Geneva Convention).  The authority to investigate such acts is granted to the Swiss Military Attorney General.  Switzerland also enjoys particular status as the depository of the Geneva Conventions. 

Sourani and Bosonnet gave a press conference in Berne on Friday 5 September about the complaints and were joined by Anne-Catherine Menetrey-Savary, member of the Swiss Parliament, founder of the Green Party and a supporter of the Palestinian cause; and Tobias Schnebli, member of Switzerland Without an Army, and a supporter of the Palestinian cause.

During the press conference, the speakers provided information about the two complaints and also more general information regarding the ongoing perpetration of war crimes, and other violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, against Palestinian civilians in the OPTs by Israeli occupying forces and other state agents.

Sourani asserted that such initiatives are both necessary and legal.  Sourani further expressed concerns at the failure of the international community to intervene to halt the ongoing violations of international human rights and humanitarian law perpetrated against Palestinian civilians in the OPTs by Israeli occupying forces and other state agents.  Sourani also called upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to comply with their legal obligations to take immediate concrete action to ensure the protection of the Palestinian civilian population and to ensure justice for victims.