Israel to ignore Belgian prosecution

The Israeli justice ministry announced on Wednesday it will ignore a legal case filed by the Belgian judiciary against Amos Yaron, a former general allegedly involved in the Beirut Sabra and Shatila massacres.

    Whatever the Belgian court
    decides in June, Israel has stated
    it is irrelevant

    Irit Kahn, in charge of international affairs in the chief prosecutor's office, said that Israel was tired of the issue.

    "We have announced in a letter that enough was enough, that the game was over and that Israel will no longer take part in this lawsuit, which is becoming a political issue," said Khan.  
         
    A Belgian court announced on Tuesday that it would rule on 10 June in the case against General Amos Yaron over the 1982 massacre at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. The crimes were carried out by an Israeli-allied Christian militia during Israel's invasion of Lebanon.
      
    Criminal charges

    Yaron faces charges of crimes against humanity in a legal case filed by 23 Palestinian survivors of the massacre, as does current Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, who may be prosecuted when he leaves office.
         
    The Israeli general, who is now director general at the Defence Ministry, was responsible for the Beirut sector at the time of the massacre, while Sharon was defence minister.

    Yaron's lawyer, Adrien Masset, told reporters he hoped the Belgian government would send the legal case to be heard by Israeli courts, as is now possible under a recent amendment.

    When Sharon leaves office, he
    too may be prosecuted

    The Universal Competence Law allows Belgian courts to rule on war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, wherever they allegedly took place and whover allegedly perpetrated the crime. 

    Recently, Brussels restricted the scope of the law, allowing Belgium courts to send some cases back to the suspect's country of origin.
            

    Massacre

    On 14 September 1982, Israel's key ally, Lebanese president-elect, Bashir Gemayel a former commander for the Lebanese Forces, was killed in a bomb blast.
      
    Less than 24 hours later, the Israeli army took control of West Beirut, the Muslim sector of the city, and gave the green light for Gemayel's milita supporters to comb the two refugee camps for Palestinian resistance fighters.
      
    Israel sealed off the camps for three days, while the Lebanese militias, notably Gemayel's Lebanese Forces, went on a killing spree, targeting defenceless civilians.
      
    The number of dead at Sabra and Shatila is estimated to range between 800 and 2,000 civilians, including 100 Lebanese.


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