Take us to your leader®. Then take us to your reader®.
How it works? [Click here]
Who we are
Our Agenda

Latest News
Good & Bad News

101 Palestinian History
Link & Resources
The Valley Galleria
nileMedia Reader

Join US
Contact Us

August 09, 2001
Avraham Burg's Racism is Not Tolerable



Sharon’s Lawyer makes weak case

8 August 2001
Palestine Media Center PMC

The lawyer Israel hired to represent the government in the case brought against Ariel Sharon in Belgium is basing her case on purely technical matters. Ariel Sharon stands accused of ordering the massacre of over 2,000 Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut, Lebanon during in September of 1982.

Ms. Michele Hirsch, who was hired by the State of Israel to defend the sitting Prime Minister was part of the defense team for four Rwandans convicted of war crimes in a Belgian court earlier this summer.

In a long interview with the Israeli daily newspaper Ha'aretz, Ms. Hirsch presented the arguments she will use in front of Patrick Colligon, the Belgian Judge investigating the charges against Mr. Sharon.

In her interview, parts of which was published today 8 August, Ms. Hirsch made it clear that as a lawyer, she supports the 1993 Belgian law permitting the trial of war criminals in Belgium, no matter what their nationality or position is.

Israel's lawyer justified her objection to trying Sharon by telling Ha'aretz, "I support the international authority to punish violators of human rights. They should not be allowed to get away with their crimes. But not every state has to deal with the crimes in other states".

Ms. Hirsch explained that her argument would focus on the inadmissibility of holding a trial for a sitting Prime Minister.

She will argue that the trial violates the judicial sovereignty of Israel; "Israel is a democracy and its institutions have already judged the Sabra and Shatila case through the Kahan Commission". Ms. Hirsch claims that the Kahan Commission had the attributes of a judicial institutions. Therefore, the lawyer claims that Belgium should adhere to the Rome Treaty, which stipulates that courts can't deal with "matters addressed in the originating country". Legal experts refute this argument by stressing that the Kahan Commission was of an investigative nature and did not serve any indictments following of its serious recommendations.

The lawyer also made the argument that the 1993 Belgian law allowing for these kinds of proceedings can only apply to suspects in Belgium and to crimes committed after 1993.

Ms. Hirsch argues that the Geneva Convention requires a state to arrest suspects in its territory and then put them on trial. However, she skips the fact that the same Convention does not forbid acting against suspects residing in other countries.

As for the argument of retroactivity, the fact remains that there is no statute of limitations on war crimes and genocide in international and Belgian law.

No where in her interview did Ms. Hirsch discuss a defense strategy stemming from the argument that Ariel Sharon bears no responsibility to the unspeakable horrors of that 1982 massacre. This may send alarming bells ringing for many Israeli officials, many of whom could be implicated in this and other war crimes.

Legal experts believe that despite all the creative arguments Ms. Hirsch presented, the investigating judge may decide to proceed with indicting Ariel Sharon all the same.