Belgian Lawyers: Case Against Israeli Prime Minister Still Strong
In spite of last week’s mysterious assassination of a key witness in Lebanon, lawyers seeking to prosecute the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, for war crimes said Friday that their case was still strong, according to the Guardian.
Former Christian militia leader and former Minister, Elie Hobeika was blown up in a deadly blast near his Beirut home last Thursday, two days after declaring he would give evidence against Sharon. “Our case was strong even before Mr. Hobeika announced his willingness to participate,” announced Michael Verhaeghe, one of the lawyers involved in the case. “It could have been much stronger with his evidence, but it's still strong.”
Palestinian survivors of the 1982 massacre at Sabra and Shatila in Lebanon are trying to prosecute the Israeli Prime Minister for crimes against humanity in the Belgian courts, which are able to try foreigners for human rights violations committed elsewhere.
Sharon served as Israeli defense Minister at the time Hobeika's militia killed around 1,000 Palestinians in a 40-hour rage during which the Israeli forces sealed off escape routes. Sharon resigned when an Israeli investigation found that he bore "personal responsibility". It blamed him for disregarding the risk of a massacre when he permitted the Phalangist militia to enter the Palestinian camps.
Following the assassination in Lebanon last week, several Lebanese leaders have said they suspect Israel was behind Hobeika's killing, an accusation Israel has strongly rejected. Lebanon President, Emile Lahoud, said there was no firm evidence yet, however, Israel had an interest in the disappearance of a man at the core of the case against Sharon. “Why now, after 20 years, does this happen to this person?” (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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