Gaza Flotilla: Lawyers from 60 Countries to Sue Israel

JAKARTA,
July 12, 2010

Lawyers from 60 countries, including Indonesia, will gather in Istanbul, Turkey, from July 15-16, to prepare a legal suit against Israel for its attack on the Gaza-bound humanitarian flotilla on May 31, Antara news agency reported.

“There are a number of lawyers from 60 countries who will take legal steps to sue the attackers of Mavi Marmara,” Mahendradatta, patron chief of the Indonesian Muslims’ Lawyer Team (TPM) said here, Monday.
Mahendradatta said he would represent six Indonesians who became victims of the Israeli soldiers’ attack, where two Indonesians namely Surya Fachrizal and Oktavianto were injured.
The lawyers, among others from Turkey, Britain and other European countries, will sue Israel in international legal forum as well as bilateral forums.
TPM, he said would consistently fight the Israeli arrogance.
Meanwhile, Jose Rizal Jurnalis, presidium chairman of MER-C (Medical Emergency Rescue – Committee) Indonesia hoped that the legal suit against Israel could be brought to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Source

Netanyahu to appear before inquiry

July 13 2010

MATTHEW KALMAN in Jerusalem

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu will testify next month before the government-appointed inquiry into the raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that left nine civilians dead, it was confirmed today.

Committee spokesman Ofer Lefler said Mr Netanyahu’s appearance on August 9th will be followed the next day by testimony from defence minister Ehud Barak.

Chief of Staff Lieutenant- General Gabi Ashkenazi will testify on August 11th.

All three appearances will be open to the public, Mr Lefler said.

Peace campaigners in Israel claimed victory yesterday in a legal tussle with the Israeli government to increase the powers of the commission

A compromise decision of the Israeli supreme court opened the door for the Turkel Commission, which includes David Trimble as one of two international observers, to subpoena soldiers and military commanders – a move the Israeli government had fought to prevent.

Meanwhile, the military’s own operational inquiry into the pre-dawn commando raid on the Mavi Marmara on May 31st levelled scathing criticism at the higher echelons of the Israeli navy, citing a series of intelligence and planning failures that led to the deaths of the vessel’s passengers and international embarrassment for Israel.

As a direct result, Israel has been forced to ease its blockade on the Gaza Strip after a four-year siege failed in its declared aims of bringing down the Hamas government and securing the release of captured soldier Gilad Shalit.

The “Public Commission to Examine the Maritime Incident of 31 May 2010” was created under the chairmanship of retired Supreme Court justice Yaakov Turkel in June, but no sooner had hearings begun than Turkel demanded his powers be increased. At the same time, the Gush Shalom (Peace Bloc) movement petitioned the Supreme Court demanding that the commission either be reconstituted as a full state commission of inquiry or scrapped.

On July 4th, the Israeli government bowed to Judge Turkel’s demands and reconstituted his inquiry into a government inquiry commission, which under Israeli law has powers to subpoena witnesses and compel them to testify under oath. But it excluded military personnel.

Veteran Israeli peace campaigner Uri Avnery told The Irish Times the government’s decision was illegal, since the newly empowered commission had the right under law to summon any witness, including soldiers. He said yesterday’s Supreme Court hearing was “a double victory” for Gush Shalom.

“It was the first time in the history of Israel that the court agreed to intervene in a matter concerning boards of inquiry. There have been many petitions before and they all have been refused,” said Mr Avnery.

“Second, the court actually said that if Turkel wants to interrogate soldiers he can do so. If the government does not accede to this demand, then we all go to the court again and the court will do what it deems fit. There’s a strong hint that then they will compel the government to agree,” he said.

The government had argued that the parallel military inquiry that reported yesterday made it redundant for Judge Turkel’s commission to also question soldiers, but they agreed to the compromise suggested by the court.

The findings of the military inquiry headed by reserve Brig Gen Giora Eiland appeared to raise more questions than they answered.

“The team concluded that not all possible intelligence-gathering methods were fully implemented and that the co-ordination between navy intelligence and the Israel defence intelligence was insufficient,” the committee said in a statement.

“The anticipated level of violence used against the forces was underestimated . . . The operation relied excessively on a single course of action, albeit a probable one, while no alternative courses of action were prepared for the event of more dangerous scenarios.”  Source

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Published in: on July 13, 2010 at 1:55 am  Comments Off on Gaza Flotilla: Lawyers from 60 Countries to Sue Israel  
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