Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The crime of apartheid

In order to keep Israel a "Jewish" state, racist policies amounting to apartheid have been used against Palestinians.

Frank Barat


"....In November this year, a group of legal experts, academics, witnesses, jurists and personalities will meet in Cape Town, South Africa for the 3rd International Session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine .

This group will go further than previous studies on the question as it will address apartheid against the Palestinian people as a whole and will look into possible consequences for the International Community and legal remedies.

Led by luminaries such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Stephane Hessel, the jury panel (composed of South African heroes such as Ronnie Kasrils and Yasmin Sooka as well as British Barrister Michael Mansfield, US activist Cynthia McKinney, US author Alice Walker, Nobel Prize Winner Mairead Maguire, Spanish Judge Martin Pallin, French lawyer Gisele Halimi and Mali former Minister of Culture Aminata Traore) will listen to testimonies from legal experts and on the ground witnesses (including Winnie Mandela, John Dugard, Raji Surani, and Leah Tsemel) coming from all over the world that will focus on examining Israeli policies towards the Palestinians in detail.

After hearing those people, as well as an envoy of the state of Israel (that has been invited), the jury will deliberate and issue a final opinion.

What if the jury finds that Israel's policies towards the Palestinian people amount to the crime of apartheid defined in the 1976 convention and the 2002 Rome Stature of the ICC?

Duty to prosecute under universal jurisdiction exists under the 1976 Apartheid Convention and under general international law. States (third parties) have a duty to cooperate to end apartheid and not to assist the apartheid regime in question. The case, for added weight, could even be taken to the International Court of Justice.

Will states fulfil their duties? Or will political interest come first, as usual?

As it is often the case, it might have to be down to the people of the world - who want to live in a world based on equality, equal rights for all and justice - to take those findings and make it theirs.

Will they be up to the challenge? Our future depends on it."

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