Accusations Against Israeli Prime Minister Urge Belgium to Rethink War Crimes Act

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Monday, October 1, 2001
Tom Scheirs
A complaint against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has caused unease in Belgian political and diplomatic circles. Based on the Belgian War Crimes Act, the complaint, which was introduced on May 31, 2001 by the obscure Committee Against Terrorism and Impunity, accuses Sharon – at the time the local commander of the military – of crimes against humanity and war crimes against civilians for his involvement in the 1982 slaughter of 800 civilians in the Lebanese refugee camps of Sabra and Chatilla. According to the petitioners, the attack on the Palestinian refugees in the camps even amounted to genocide because it was inspired by a deep-rooted hatred against the Palestinians. The investigating judge entrusted with the investigation of the alleged crimes still has to decide whether the complaint will be admitted in order for a proper criminal investigation to start…[more]