Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Locke condemns Cullen intrusion over Israeli

1 December 2006

Locke condemns Cullen intrusion over Israeli

Green Party MP Keith Locke condemned the decision this week by Attorney-General Michael Cullen to issue a permanent stay of the court proceedings that were already under way in Auckland against former Israeli military Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon.

"The effect of the Attorney-General's intervention has been that someone facing serious charges that they have violated the Geneva Convention have now escaped having those charges tested in court," Mr Locke says.

"In the United Kingdom, criminal proceedings have been issued against Ya'alon with respect to his role in the assassination of Palestinian military leader Salah Shehadeh in 2002 - which involved dropping a one ton bomb on a populated area in Gaza, killing 15 civilians, eight of them children.

"It is a violation of the Geneva Convention to treat civilians as military targets, unless they are actively engaged at the time in bearing arms against the occupying force. Obviously, those children were not.

"A civil suit was also filed in the US courts against Ya'alon in December 2005 for his role in the shelling of the U.N. compound at Qana in Lebanon in 1996, which killed more than 100 civilians. On Monday of this week in Auckland, District Court Judge Avinash Deobhakta issued a warrant for Ya'alon's arrest, on grounds that a 'prima facie' case existed that he had contravened the Geneva Convention.

"During the Auckland hearing, the judge ruled that the Attorney-General's permission was not necessary for the warrant to be served, though his permission would be needed for the prosecution to ultimately proceed. The police chose to consult the Crown Law Office - and the Attorney-General then issued a permanent stay of proceedings. Those powers are normally exercised only to prevent a miscarriage of justice.

"The Attorney-General's intrusion has enabled Mr Ya'alon to evade justice and leave the country. New Zealand likes to portray itself as an honest broker in the Middle East. This episode shows it is less interested in justice for the Palestinians than in avoiding a diplomatic row with Israel, in the wake of the recent incident with the Mossad spies.

"I am concerned about the apparent willingness of the Attorney-General to over-ride court processes in this case, for what seem to be political reasons," Mr Locke says.

"Michael Cullen's action indicates that a double standard exists with the war on terrorism. If a Palestinian military commander facing legal proceedings in the UK and USA was facing arrest here, I doubt he would be treated in the same way - with the Attorney-General helping him to evade arrest, and flee the country."


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Budget 2022

At base, the political biffo back and forth on the merits of Budget 2022 comes down to only one thing. Who is the better manager of the economy and better steward of social wellbeing – National or Labour? In its own quiet way, the Treasury has buried a fascinating answer to the “who’s best at running an economy during a crisis?” question, at page 57 of the Fiscal Strategy section...


Government: Helps Supermarket Shoppers Get A Fair Deal
Urgent Budget night legislation to stop major supermarkets blocking competitors from accessing land for new stores has been introduced today, Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Dr David Clark said... More>>

Budget 2022: A Secure Future In Difficult Times
Budget 2022 will help build a high wage, low emissions economy that provides greater economic security, while providing support to households affected by cost of living pressures... More>>


Budget: Climate Investments Provide Path To Economic Security
The Government is investing in New Zealand’s economic security by ensuring climate change funding moves away from short-term piecemeal responses and towards smart, long-term investment... More>>


National: Jacqui Dean To Retire From Parliament In 2023

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean has announced that she will not be seeking re-election at the 2023 election. “I have advised the President and Leader of the National Party that I have decided not to put my name forward... More>>

Classification Office: Following Decision To Ban Manifesto The Buffalo Mass Shooting Livestream Is Now Banned
The livestream video of yesterday’s mass shooting in the United States has now been banned, Acting Chief Censor Rupert Ablett-Hampson announced this morning. The decision follows on from his decision yesterday to call in and ban the ‘manifesto... More>>

Borders: New Zealand Poised To Welcome International Students Back
New Zealand is fully reopening to international students and the Government is committed to help reinvigorate and strengthen the sector, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today... More>>




InfoPages News Channels