HRW: Sharon should have faced justice for Sabra and Shatila massacre
Palestinian supporters of the Islamic Jihad step on a poster bearing a portrait of former Israeli premier Ariel Sharon who died after being in a coma for eight years, aged 85. (AFP)
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It is a shame that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon died without facing justice for his role in the Sabra and Shatila massacre, the director of Human Rights Watch (HRW)'s Middle East and North Africa division said Saturday.
Sharon led Israel into a war with Lebanon in 1982 and was responsible for the massacre of hundreds of Palestinians at Sabra and Shatila refugee camps outside the Lebanese capital of Beirut after his forces allowed allied Lebanese militias into the camps.
"It's a shame that Sharon has gone to his grave without facing justice for his role in Sabra and Shatila and other abuses," said Sarah Leah Whitson in a statement on Saturday.
As the Israeli minister of military affairs, Sharon earned the title “Butcher of Beirut” over the massacre.
The HRW director also slammed Sharon’s role in the “assassination” of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat back in 2004.
"Sharon was a criminal, responsible for the assassination of Arafat, and we would have hoped to see him appear before the International Criminal Court as a war criminal," she said.
Palestinian officials Jibril Rajoub of the Fatah party and Salah el-Bardaweel, a spokesman for Hamas, also called Sharon a criminal.
On January 4, 2006, Sharon suffered a stroke and went into a coma, from which he never recovered.
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