TEHRAN, May 2 (MNA) -- A group of Norwegian lawyers filed a complaint in late April accusing 10 Israelis of war crimes in Gaza under the country’s new universal jurisdiction law.

Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and opposition leader Tzipi Livni were among those named in the complaint. The lawyers claim that Olmert, Livni, Barak, and seven Israeli military officers share responsibility for “massive terror attacks primarily directed at Gaza’s population.”


The Zionist regime’s merciless attack on the defenseless people of Gaza was indisputably a violation of the most important and fundamental principles of international law and human rights.


Just as the international community made efforts to bring the war criminals of the Bosnia and Rwanda conflicts to justice, it must also classify the atrocities committed by Zionist regime officials during the Gaza war as international crimes. In fact, Israel deliberately violated international law in the December 2008-January 2009 Gaza war.


According to international law and the national laws of many countries, it is the responsibility of international organizations and all nation-states to ensure that a criminal investigation of the war crimes and acts of genocide committed during the Gaza war is conducted in order to mete out justice and to prevent similar humanitarian catastrophes from occurring in the future.


The government of the Zionist regime and individual Israeli war criminals -- political leaders, military commanders, and their facilitators -- must be held accountable for the crimes against humanity committed in Gaza.


Israel’s war on Gaza was a clear violation of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their 1977 Additional Protocols.


The evidence speaks for itself: indiscriminate attacks in which innocent civilians were killed, the destruction of property, the use of banned weapons, and attacks on protected institutions like hospitals and schools.


Indeed, the entire war was an act of collective punishment.


The International Criminal Court has legal competency and jurisdiction to try Israeli citizens for war crimes committed in Gaza, but since Israel is not a member of the ICC, the UN Security Council must first refer the cases to the court.


However, since the United States usually uses its veto to kill UN Security Council resolutions against Israel, this is not likely.


But there is another course of action.


Since the 1990s, special courts have been established to try war criminals, such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. In addition, other special courts have been established through bilateral agreements between the UN and certain states, such as the court set up to try those charged with committing genocide in Cambodia and the court set up to try those charged with committing war crimes in Sierra Leone.


Using this precedent, a special criminal tribunal for Gaza could be established. 


But however it is done, an international court must be established as soon as possible to prosecute the Israeli war criminals for the atrocities committed in Gaza. Justice deferred is justice denied.


Jamshid Parvizi is the cultural attaché of the Iranian Embassy in Oslo, Norway.


(May 3 Tehran Times Opinion Column, by Jamshid Parvizi)





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