Sunday, August 9, 2015
The National Society for Democracy and Law organized at its headquarters in the center of Rafah, in cooperation with the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), a seminar on the anniversary of the recent Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip entitled “The latest developments regarding the prosecution of Israeli war criminals.”
Mr. Raji Sourani, Director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights and Chairman of the Arab Organization for Human Rights and Dr. Ibrahim Muammar, Chairman of the National Society for Democracy and Law, and a group of human rights activists and moral personalities attended this workshop.
For his part, Muammar stressed the need for continued efforts and legal struggle to bring the leaders of the occupation to the international courts, especially since the crimes do not fall under the statute of limitations.
He stressed the need for the world to stop dealing with Israel as a state above the law, criticizing the change of European countries laws of their country, to avoid the arrest and trial of Israeli leaders in their courts.
PCHR’s director, Raji Sourani, confirmed that Palestinian human rights organizations, including hundreds of activists in various parts of the world, are preparing to appeal to the International Criminal Court (ICC) with four main cases, constituting grave violations of human rights in the Palestinian territories, which are the separation wall, settlement, the last aggression of Gaza, and the fourth file relates to the siege of the Gaza Strip.
Sourani stressed that human rights organizations have been struggling for years to accede Palestine to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. This accession enables it to submit to the court dozens or even hundreds of cases, which constitute crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinian people.
In his speech, Sourani noted that Palestinians have been living in the worst conditions for decades. In the history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the balance of power has not been as flawed as today, and the case of Palestine is no longer at the top of Arab, international or even regional attention, and this makes the reality more difficult.
He stressed that the efforts of human rights organizations must continue, in order to achieve victory for the victims, and the Palestinians must become “good victims”.
Sourani awarned against raising expectations of what human rights organizations might achieve in international courts. History has not recorded a state liberated by the courts or by law. Freedom and self-determination occur in revolutions and resistance under international law. Nevertheless, the institutions of law are important cultural struggles that must be continued.
Sourani stressed that human rights organizations have been able to obtain arrest warrants against Israeli leaders in Spain, Britain and other countries. These countries have changed their laws to prevent the arrest of Israeli leaders. Israel has continued its fight and pressure in all possible ways so that the Palestinians do not go to international criminal court.
He noted that after the President signed the Rome Statute, and since international criminal court is a private court, no one could prevent Palestinians from going to it. Good legal documentation has enabled human rights organizations to prepare professional legal documents that will be the nucleus of cases that will be presented by victims of international crimes.
At the end of the meeting, the discussion opened to the audience. Questions were raised about the competence of international criminal law, whether there is a possibility of amending its laws, and whether there is coordination between the authority and human rights organizations.
Sourani said that changing the international criminal laws is difficult. It requires a vote in its general assembly. Two-thirds of the members must vote for any amendment, which is impossible in the near future.