Israeli Settlements Block Agreement on War Crimes Court

Published June 13th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Israel is considering signing an international agreement to establish a war crimes court, but has no intention of ratifying the agreement since settlements in the Palestinian territories are considered "war crimes" under the court's constitution, reported the daily Haaretz Tuesday.  

In a meeting held last week at the foreign ministry, the ministry's legal adviser, Alan Baker, recommended that Israel sign the agreement before December of this year, so that it can be considered a "founding member" of the international court and support the basic principles upon which the court will be founded, without being brought under the court's jurisdiction, said the daily.  

Israel will thus be able to improve its international reputation, without running a real risk of interference in its policies.  

Israeli justice minister Yossi Beilin believed that Israel should play a part in the new international court and asked foreign officials to find a solution that would allow this.  

The New York conference, currently busy drawing up the court's documents and agreements, is not, however, holding any discussion on amending the "settlements article", Haaretz added  

The possibility of establishing an international war crimes court arose recently in light of the massacres in Rwanda and Bosnia and the prevalent feeling among members of the international community that a permanent court was needed to deal with such crimes, according to the daily. 

The section, which lists "transferring a population to an occupied territory" as a war crime was added two years ago prior to the Rome Conference. 

A foreign ministry source was quoted as saying that "it was clear that this meant us and the wording adopted effectively turns those who fund the settlements or provide services to settlers as war criminals."  

Israel thus voted against the constitution at the conference, along with Libya and China, according to the daily - Albawaba.com 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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