If you’ve read those blogs which covered the Lebanon war you’ve probably heard mention in many of them of the prospect for war crimes trials against Israel for its heinous actions there. In this blog, I have advocated consideration of such charges not only for the IDF but for Hezbollah as well.
Well, it appears that the Israeli foreign ministry is thinking along much the same lines:
The Foreign Ministry fears a wave of lawsuits accusing Israeli military and governmental officials of war crimes, Army Radio said Monday, adding that a report prepared by the ministry’s chief legal advisor warns officials against inflammatory statements in connection with the recent war, saying that their words could later be used against them in foreign lawsuits or indictments for alleging them to be war criminals.
Cabinet Minister Yitzhak Herzog…said Monday that international conventions granted government officials immunity from prosecution, but that the problem was “much more complicated” with respect to IDF officers, especially retired officers.
“There is no question that there is an effort by organizations of various kinds to harm, in particular, [IDF] officers and commanders. This certainly doesn’t touch the governmental echelon, but this takes nothing away from the seriousness of the problem.”
Cabinet minister Eli Yishai and former justice minister Haim Ramon are among those who have been mentioned as having made especially harsh statements in wartime, during which Israeli ministers were quoted as having advocated “taking down” villages which served as shelters for Hezbollah.
Legal authority Yael Ronen said Monday that some officers or government officials who traveled to Europe stood the risk of being arrested.
‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. I don’t know whether an international court would convict an IDF commander of war crimes. That issue doesn’t even interest me as much as the issue of ending the impunity of the Israeli military in its treatment of Israel’s foes (let’s not forget the mayhem the IDF is wreaking currently in Gaza). The army has never faced accountability for its actions. The Israeli Supreme Court has run from this issue as fast as its feet would carry it. Not only will it not find an IDF officer guilty of war crimes, it won’t even hear such a case. If Israel won’t police its own then someone has to do it. Otherwise, we’ll continue seeing the bestiality of the most recent war in future hostilities.