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Belgian Court Accepts War Crimes Suit Against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Belgian Court Accepts War Crimes Suit Against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

Call for a Sustained International Campaign: INDICT SHARON NOW!

The Public Prosecutor's office in Brussels, Belgium, ruled last Friday that the complaint against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon accusing him of crimes against humanity was admissible. The complaint was filed on 18 June by the Lebanese lawyer Chibli Mallat on behalf of 28 Palestinian and Lebanese plaintiffs, all of them victims of the 1982 massacre committed in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila during Israel's invasion of Beirut led by then-Minister of Defense Ariel Sharon. Following the admission of the case by the Brussels Public Prosecutor, an investigating judge can now open an investigation into the events surrounding the massacre.

In the meantime, in the Middle East, Ariel Sharon and his national unity government decided to continue to repress the popular Palestinian uprising against Israel's occupation regime in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by means of its so-called policy of restraint. This policy - composed of an international public relations campaign around a non-existent Israeli "cease-fire", the rejection of political negotiations with the PLO, and political assassinations and collective punishment of the Palestinian civilian population on the ground -threatens to lead the region into yet another cycle of brutal and violent conflict. At the same time, pressure is mounting on Ariel Sharon as a result of Palestinian, Arab, and international calls for a criminal investigation into past war crimes attributed to him, and because of the precedent set by the transfer of former Yugoslav president Milosevic to The Hague to face charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

According to Israeli press reports (Yedioth Aharonot, 1-7-01), Israel's political and judicial establishments are anxiously monitoring developments in the case in Belgium. The newspaper quoted diplomatic sources as saying that the government had sent representatives to Brussels to observe the developments first hand. Although Sharon's lawyer Dov Weisglas said there was "no concern" about Sharon visiting Belgium, only Paris and Berlin - and not Brussels - are on the agenda of his trip to Europe starting tomorrow, Thursday, 5 July.

SUPPORT the Quest for Justice of the Victims of Sabra and Shatila!

REMIND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY - in PARIS, BERLIN, and everywhere - of Sharon's responsibility for war crimes committed in the past and the violent repression of the Palestinian uprising in the present!

For further information about the war crimes suit in Belgium, please check:

* www.mallat.com (The website includes the full text of the complaint in French, press reports, contact addresses and a bank account for financial support of the claim of the victims of the Sabra and Shatila massacre.)
* BADIL press release E/36/2001
* Call for criminal investigation against Ariel Sharon issued by the
* US-based human rights organization Human Rights Watch: www.hrw.org/press/2001/06/isr0622.htm