[Marxism] U.N. says Israel is a war criminal
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jul 20 06:53:27 MDT 2006
NY Times, July 20, 2006
Attacks Qualify as War Crimes, Officials Say
By WARREN HOGE
UNITED NATIONS, July 19 The United Nations top human rights official
said Wednesday that the killing and maiming of civilians under attack in
Lebanon, Israel and Gaza and the West Bank could constitute war crimes.
The scale of killings in the region, and their predictability, could
engage the personal criminal responsibility of those involved, particularly
those in a position of command and control, said Louise Arbour, the high
commissioner for human rights.
Ms. Arbour is a former justice of Canadas Supreme Court who, as chief
prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the
former Yugoslavia, indicted the former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic.
International humanitarian law is clear on the supreme obligations to
protect civilians during hostilities, she said. That same obligation
exists, she added, in international criminal law, which defines war crimes
and crimes against humanity.
Indiscriminate shelling of cities constitutes a foreseeable and
unacceptable targeting of civilians, she said in a statement released by
her Geneva office. Similarly, the bombardment of sites with alleged
innocent civilians is unjustifiable.
The Swiss-based International Red Cross, the recognized guardian of the
Geneva Conventions on the conduct of war, said Wednesday that Israel had
violated the principle of proportionality provided for in the Conventions
and their protocols.
It also noted that Hezbollah was firing rockets into northern Israel.
Hezbollah fighters too are bound by the rules of international
humanitarian law, and they must not target civilian areas, it said.
At the United Nations, there was support for the view that the only way to
spare more victims was to halt the fighting, but there was also evidence
that the United States would continue to dispute it.
We think a truce is needed for humanitarian reasons, said Jean-Marc de la
Sablière, the ambassador of France, which holds the rotating presidency of
the Security Council.
But John R. Bolton, the American ambassador, said the notion that a
cease-fire would solve the problem was simplistic. Among other things,
he said, I want somebody to address the problem how you get a cease-fire
with a terrorist organization.
This is a different kind of situation, he added, and Im not sure that
sort of old thinking, conventional thinking, works in a case like this.
Mark Malloch Brown, the deputy secretary general, said that on
humanitarian grounds but also to enable ultimately a sustainable solution
to this, one which allows Israel and its neighbors to live in peace with
each other, continued conflict does not help.
Secretary General Kofi Annan was returning to New York from Europe and was
scheduled to brief the Council on Thursday on his call for a cessation of
hostilities and a stabilization force for southern Lebanon.
The need to bring this to a stop while we find a longer-term political and
security solution is one that he will be stressing tomorrow in the
Council, Mr. Malloch Brown said.
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