Sabra and Shatilla Survivor Sacks Legal Team
A key plaintiff in the case against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon dismissed on Wednesday her legal team, complaining that former Lebanese Forces intelligence chief Elie Hobeika should have been included in the indictment.
Souad Srour, who still lives in the Shatilla refugee camp, said the exclusion of Hobeika allows Sharon’s lawyers to argue that the case brought against the former Israeli defense minister is political rather than legal, reported the Daily Star newspaper.
Sharon instructed Christian Lebanese militiamen to enter the camps and cleanse them of “terrorists.”
Elie Hobeika is accused of heading the militiamen, although he has denied any involvement in the killings.
In June, 28 survivors of the 1982 massacre in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps filed a lawsuit in a Belgian court charging Sharon with war crimes.
A 1993 Belgian law giving local courts jurisdiction over violations of the Geneva war crimes convention allows claimants to seek cases against foreigners suspected of war crimes no matter where they occurred.
Srour said the three lawyers, Chibli Mallat, Luc Walleyn and Michael Verhaeghe, had “failed to perform their duties as they should have done.”
She said Sharon’s lawyers were using Hobeika’s absence from the indictment to their advantage.
She also referred to “the suspicious cooperation between the lawyers and Israeli parties and the suspicious visits to the Occupied Territories which took place without consulting us. We reject all these activities.”
Mallat said he had not been in touch directly with Srour since the case was filed but lawyers had continued with the case according to standing instructions, added the paper.