World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Suspected war criminal Doron Almog cancels UK visit

Suspected war criminal Doron Almog cancels UK visit despite offer of immunity by UK Government

On 26 June 2013, suspected Israeli war criminal Major General Doron Almog (retired) was scheduled to visit the United Kingdom to meet with the ‘UK Task Force on Issues Relating to Arab Citizens of Israel’, a non-governmental organisation. In advance of this visit, the UK Government awarded Mr. Almog’s visit the status of a Special Mission, thereby granting him immunity from the criminal jurisdiction of the United Kingdom.

However, Mr Almog made a last minute cancellation of his planned visit to the UK last week.

The lawyers for the victims of his suspected war crimes last week challenged the decision to grant immunity to Mr Almog, given that it was made by the Government despite the existence of a warrant for Mr Almog’s arrest on war crimes charges. No answers have yet been received to the questions raised with the Government’s legal advisers.

Background
On 10 September 2005, a British court issued a warrant for Mr. Almog’s arrest in relation to the destruction of 59 houses in Rafah refugee camp on 10 January 2002, which formed part of a sustained policy of house demolitions in the Gaza Strip. The police stood ready to arrest Mr Almog on 11 September 2005 on suspicion of that war crime and three other allegations relating to his period as commander of the Gaza Strip (2000-2004). Mr Almog escaped arrest after refusing to leave his aeroplane at Heathrow airport following a tip off, and he was allowed to return to Israel.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and Hickman & Rose solicitors, who represent the victims of Mr Almog’s actions, condemn the UK Government’s recent decision to grant Mr Almog immunity in light of the above events of September 2005.

Special mission status – wrong in this case and generally open to abuse
The UK Government’s decision exhibits a clear disregard for the rule of law, and sends the unequivocal message that suspected Israeli war criminals will not be held to account,even if a British court has issued a warrant for their arrest. This sends a dangerous message regarding the UK’s commitment to the rule of international law, and the State’s binding international obligations under Articles 1 and 146 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, 1949.

Significantly, the decision to grant immunity also sends the clear message that Israel can commit war crimes in the Gaza Strip with impunity. In the absence of the rule of law, the 1.7 million civilians of the Gaza Strip are condemned to a future of violence, denied the protections and safeguards of universal human rights and international humanitarian law.

On the available information, the purpose of Mr Almog’s (now aborted) visit – to meet with a non-governmental organisation – in no way conforms with the criteria necessary to qualify as a ‘special mission’. These matters and others are being taken up with the UK Government.

Indeed, the concern of those who seek the equal application of the rule of law to all persons suspected of serious international crimes is that decisions on granting special immunity status risk running contrary to basic principles of equal application of the law and of the international legal obligations of seeking out and prosecuting suspected war criminals.

These decisions need public debate and increased legal scrutiny to avoid the status of special mission falling into disrepute as a vehicle to protect friends of a given government from the due process of the criminal law for alleged serious human rights and humanitarian law abuses.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Myanmar Election: UNICEF Urges Prioritisation Of Children

With 99 days to go before Myanmar elections, UNICEF urges candidates make children the clear winner More>>

Liberia Thousands Of Unregistered Children Born During Ebola Crisis

Thousands of unregistered children born in Liberia during Ebola crisis at risk of exploitation – UNICEF More>>

UN Refugee Agency Envoy Angelina Jolie Visits Myanmar

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt (left) in Myitkyina township, Kachin State, Myanmar, meeting with some of the 100,000 displaced people who currently live there. Photo: UNHCR/T.Stoddart More>>

As Health Needs Rise In Somalia, Funding Hits New Low

As health needs rise in Somalia, funding hits new low, cutting off 1.5 million from care – UN More>>

Need To End Violence Against Children In Conflict

‘We should be outraged’ more not being done to end violence against children in conflict – UNICEF chief More>>

On Mandela Day, UN Joins Call To Promote Community Service

Nelson Mandela, then Deputy President of the African National Congress of South Africa, raises his fist in the air while addressing the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall. UN Photo/P. Sudhakaran More>>

Some $3.2 Billion Needed For Ebola Recovery Efforts

Some $3.2 billion needed for Ebola recovery efforts in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – UN More>>

World Day: UN Spotlights Plight Of Vulnerable Populalations

Syrian refugees fleeing the fighting near the Syrian city of Kobani wait in a holding area before boarding buses in Turkey (September 2014). Photo: UNHCR /I. Prickett More>>

Afghanisatan: Direct Talks Between Government And Taliban

The United Nations Security Council has welcomed the recently held direct talks between Afghan Government and Taliban representatives as a step towards “peace and reconciliation” in the region. More>>

Eradicating World Hunger By 2030

Agriculture workers collect carrots on a farm in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Photo: World Bank/Maria Fleischmann More>>

Bangladesh: Flood Leads To UN Agency Providing Food Relief

Anwar Hossain unloads cartons of High Energy Biscuits from a pickup truck and transfers them to a distribution center in Kawar Khop union, Ramu upazila, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: WFP/Kamrul Mithon More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news