In a strong reaction to current actions to
sue Israeli war criminals, Azmi Bishara wrote ideas around the
crimes and the trial which are a part of the classic literature
critics of international criminal law.
Only covering this aspect, I wished he had
followed up with us the intellectual and judicial dynamism
spawned by the aggression on Lebanon but obstructed by Lebanese
Prime Minister Fouad Siniora who refused at that time to accept
the competency of the International Criminal Court (forming a
Pre-trial Chamber unless ICC prosecutor initiates investigations
The decision of the Palestinian authorities
(Justice Minister in the ousted government in Gaza, Justice
Minister in the caretaker government in Ramallah Dr Ali Khashan,
the acting Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council and
key Palestinian factions), helped prop up more than 460
organizations NGOs representing more than six million members,
to sue Israeli war criminals, making it not only an acceptable
idea in the Western public consciousness but a necessary
condition to bring international justice out of the shameful
western glories (i.e. Nurnberg as an exceptional court-martial
fabricated by the triumphant) to saving this meaning through the
principle of "one justice for all".
Due to the obstructions, points of weakness
and restrictions detailed by Azmi Bishara and others, this
principle will remain a wish not a fact on the ground at the
time being, although we should remind that when we struggled for
a special tribunal ad hoc in Rwanda, we were counted on figures
on one hand.
I even remember- when I talked about
accountability that doesn't rule out France or the Vatican- that
the French delegate in the Human Rights Commission approaching
me and saying:" Has it ever happened that a political syrian
refugee in the republic of human rights tires to hold
accountable the human rights country"?. that is still
scandal-hunted by the genocide committed in Rwanda, despite the
parliamentary fact-finding committees formed at that time by
Chirac and Jospin.
Like the French parliament's condemnation to
Turkey for the crimes committed against the Armenians, France is
nowadays convicted by a number of African parliaments for its
conniving in Rwanda massacres. We are still at the beginning
while following up is actually the only point of
intersection between taking revenge and reaching justice.
Regardless of the history of the special and
permanent criminal courts and regardless of the ability to use
universal jurisdiction in more than one country, I always
believe in a key fact that right is not just a text but a
conflictive and dynamic movement between several parties in
which opposition or the non- governmental sphere play a key and
effective role on the international level.
This element constitutes- may be as much as
personal experience and method of thinking of international
justice are concerned- a point of difference between the writer
of this article and intellectual Azmi Bishara whom the
international public opinion recognized when he was elected in
the Knesset, i.e. the legislative body of a country that usurped
his physical, moral and human existence. Though surprising to
us, the cunning of history opens up a way out of the bitter
reality of the international justice, after sixty years of
absence of accountability for the Hebrew State.
Since Rome conference on the International
Criminal Court, the Arab Commission for Human Rights said in a
statement "While 20th century was a century of human
rights charters, covenants and condemnations, the 21st
century will be a century of accountability and the end of
In spite of all of the obstacles spawned by
9/11 and the war on terror, we have defended this in an
inclusive international book "Future of Human Rights, impunity
and International Law".
The experience of Islamic charities and
relief agencies turned all these issues into a daily legal
conflict to lift names of innocent agencies from the terrorism
blacklist or to defend the reputation of these NGOs.
The experience of a key figure of savvy
lawyers led to launching a concerted action that took the shape
of Single Justice Organization that was forced by Gaza
aggression to start working before completing building up its
structuring. It moved with the Arab Commission for Human Rights
and several other international organizations in a concerted
effort to make a broad international coalition to stop the
impunity of Israeli war criminals.
Since work started, there was a clear agenda
in the mind of the founding members, an agenda that realizes
that the Palestinian cause does not suffer only on the
international level but it suffers also on the inter-Palestinian
The suffering includes first the war on
terror and seconds the western fierce war against political
Islamic movements that stoked an inter-Palestinian conflict, and
finally Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas' control over Gaza
In spite of the criminal blockade that
targeted Gaza Strip, we did not manage as human rights movements
to organize demonstrations of several thousand participants in
any European city. The Hebrew State was even rewarded for its
crimes when the European Union forged an agreement of upgrading
and promoting the relations on Dec, 8th, 2008.
During these conditions, the Israeli army
carried out a criminal attacks against the 1 1/2 year long
besieged Gaza strip in an aggression in which all violations to
laws and war rules were committed. This brutality was
accompanied by a state of general disgust from a reckless US
administration that destroyed in eight years what the humanity
built in centuries. An international peaceful call of "Enough"
was shunned by the US administration that unleashed its security
agencies and tightened the grip on main freedoms and spawned an
unprecedented economic crisis. Tens of initiatives were issued
from small cities sometimes and from emigrant communities and
academics, artists and intellectuals spoke out against mercenary
writers of the newspapers mockingly dubbed "the Pro Israeli
Well-reputed lawyers abandoned their offices
to seek legal methods that may bring to a halt ignoring holding
accountable the Hebrew State which bred by the Western political
In this context, we have laid down key points
for our action:
-Stirring up the International Criminal Court
that lost some of its credibility in issues of Iraq and Lebanon,
but without repeating the mistakes committed by human rights
defenders. Therefore, we moved among the Palestinian political
community including all factions and several countries which are
a ratify to Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court,
Bolivia, Venezuela, South Africa and Costa Rica, to demand the
ICC Prosecutor initiate proprio
motu an investigation into Israeli
Maintaining documentation and mobilization
will undoubtedly restrict the ICC prosecutor's options: to
either continue a passivity that has so far relied on
initiatives of the signatory countries or on the Security
Council or to get out of the weak-strong formula through
possible and available methods.
Thus, the International Coalition for Trying
Israeli War Criminals will not spare any legal argument
specially that its leaders are experienced with Criminal Courts.
-National courts that have universal
jurisdiction. A big number of lawyers operate in more than ten
countries to make them prisons for Israeli officers who may come
to summer destinations and weapon fairs.
-Individual lawsuits of those with dual
nationality: Families of some victim families have dual
nationality which allows that to submit lawsuits in several
European countries. There are also Israeli politicians and
military leaders who have European nationalities allowing
European courts to sue them.
- Filing lawsuits on aggressions on European
property: As a mere example, there are human rights and civilian
demands in Norway calling for accountability and damages. When
Norway builds a facility for and in a state under occupation, it
maintains its ownership until this state declares independence.
The damaged Norwegian aid is considered an aggression on kingdom
- Political and judicial demands for
rescinding Israel-EU Dec, 8th agreement and stopping
Israeli European partnership agreements.
- Intervention at the Swiss state that
sponsors Geneva conventions. "One Justice" organization did this
and received a reply demanding more information, and adopting
the Human Rights Council's decision of forming a fact-finding
delegation and forming other independent fact-finding
- Filing a lawsuit in front of the European
tribunals against the European Commission's anti-terrorism
committee on obstructing peaceful methods of dialogue and
cooperation with the Palestinian people and its elected
institutions, by listing Palestinian factions that does not
recognize Israel on the terrorism blacklist, whereas it did not
do the same against the Likud party that does not recognize
Palestinian state idea or Lieberman's party that promotes
Thus, struggling has started for building a
big international coalition that brings Rome Statute on the
International Criminal Court from its restricted narrow meaning
that the Security Council, and Russian, Chinese and US attitude
wanted to put it in, i.e. the war on terror.
This mobility spawned a new foundation for
propping up the Palestinian cause in the world, i.e opening the
door for civil societies to launch an offensive dynamism. A
dynamism that capitalizes on the defeat Bush's experience to
restore values of human rights and justice in international
organizations- specially judicial institution- after sixty years
of serious violations for the Palestinian human rights.
After several meetings of studying
international law, some conservative Western international
organizations left the coalition (in a farcical repetition of
2001 Durban scenario). However, this attitude constituted a
condemnation to those who withdrew and did not have any effect
on the momentum.
Concerted efforts of several initiatives in
Belgium, Norway, Switzerland, Spain, Britain and France
interacted with Arab initiatives to close ranks and exchange
experience. These actions recruited a constellation of trade
unions, public rallies and a big number of southern NGOs, only
86 NGOs and federations in the international coalition are from
Arab world while the others are from outside it.
Take for example the Arab Medical Union, it
is a union that lacks material resources but is rich in human
resources. It takes part in this war in rational and organized
methods that beat 80 year old western federations and unions. We
talk about injecting new blood and, strongly restoring central
volunteering in any civil structure and civil resistance and
young new faces that entered public life to defend Palestinian
Due to not following up this new
international dynamism, many Arab intellectuals do not
capitalize on what is taking place, especially when they see
around them a group of demagogues who write a paper that doesn't
deserve to be an article in a bad newspaper and send it to Mr.
Ocampo to submit a complaint against Israeli war criminals.
It is worth noting that the International
Criminal Court received more than 220 fax of complaints of such
In brief, the International Coalition against
Israeli War Criminals managed to recruit tens, nay hundreds of
thousands all over the world for the Palestinian legitimate
rights, after the pro Israeli lobby managed to manipulate the
inter-Palestinian conflict to the utmost limit, and managed to
create a state of confusion among supporters of the Palestinian
cause before the aggression.
The International Coalition against Israeli
War Criminals focuses on the idea that the inter-Palestinian
conflict is a natural phenomenon in any democratic society, and
is still a domestic issue. As for us, our duty is to defend the
violations against Palestinian people's rights, not interfere in
Palestinian domestic file.
Due to the fact that aggression is a crime
and resistance is a right, the coalition tries to coordinate
with a number of countries whose policies are in line with the
coalition's principle, i.e. "Justice as a response to violence
We have undoubtedly focused on working more
and talking less, but the fierceness and continuity of the fight
are the ones mapping out fate of this challenge.
We need all civil powers to close ranks, not
to split or mistrust.
I hope that since we moved the focus from
merely defending Palestinian children to suing Israeli officers,
we have entered a new civil epoch.
We also hope that the world will remember one
day at the end of this journey that thanks to Palestinian
suffering and resistance, the first breakthrough to move
international justice out of the Middle Ages rational has been
achieved; that the justice rationale has had the upper hand over
injustice away from narrow individual and international
interests, for the sake of a better future that we may trust as
peoples who defend their right to exist.