Leading international lawyers' group demands end to Israel's impunity

October 2, 2012
Sarah Benton

International lawyers call for the prosecution of Israeli war crime suspects

October 01,2012

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) ended its bureau meeting in the Gaza Strip yesterday, 30 September, with a declaration affirming that Israeli actions in the Gaza Strip constitute a form of collective punishment and “a precursor to genocide” which has resulted in war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The non-governmental organization of lawyers which enjoys consultative status with the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) urged the international community to end Israel’s impunity and systematic violations of humanitarian and human rights law.

The Gaza Declaration condemned Israel’s acts of aggression against the Palestinian people, including the targeted killings perpetrated against civilians. It also affirmed the right to file lawsuits against the perpetrators of war crimes under the principle of international jurisdiction, and called on the UN to immediately implement the recommendations of the Goldstone report.

The declaration condemned the continued detention of thousands of Palestinians in Israeli jails, a large number of whom are being held under the unjust system of administrative detention. It deplored the continued arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of children separated from their families in clear violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

With regard to the complicity of the international community in the Israeli war crimes, the declaration said that the failure of the international community to hold Israel accountable for the crimes it committed against the people of Palestine underscores its complicity in such crimes.

Should the International Criminal Court and the Security Council fail to hold Israel accountable, the association called on members of the General Assembly to act, under Article 22 of the UN Charter, and form an affiliated body to investigate the alleged crimes and prosecute their perpetrators.

Aims of IADL
The aims of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with consultative status to ECOSOC and UNESCO are:

To facilitate contact and exchanges of views among lawyers and lawyers-associations of all countries to foster understanding and goodwill among them.

To work together to achieve the aims set out in the Charter of the United Nations.

To ensure common action by lawyers:

In the realm of law, the study and practice of the principles of democracy to encourage the maintenance of peace and cooperation among nations.

To restore, defend and develop democratic rights and liberties in legislation and in practice.

To promote the independence of all peoples and to oppose any restriction on this independence whether in law or in practice.

To defend and promote human and peoples’ rights.

To promote the preservation of ecology and healthy environments.

To struggle for strict adherence to the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary and legal profession.

To defend peoples’ rights to development and for conditions of economic equality and the enjoyment of the fruits of scientific progress and natural resources.

About the International Association of Democratic Lawyers
Since IADL’s founding in 1946 in Paris, IADL members have participated in the struggles that have made the violation of human rights of groups and individuals and threats to international peace and security, legal issues under international law. From its inception, IADL members throughout the globe have protested racism, colonialism, and economic and political injustice wherever they interfere with legal and human rights, often at the cost of these jurists personal safety and economic well being.

IADL campaigns have led to changes in international humanitarian law like the universal acceptance of the importance of the right to self-determination and the protection of national human rights in arguments before UN bodies and international courts in a reinterpretation of the doctrine of “domestic jurisdiction,” formulated in Article 2, paragraph 7 of the UN Charter, a former barrier to international action in support of those basic rights.

This global evolution led by IADL lawyers has made possible United Nations’ intervention in situations of massive and institutionalized human rights abuses beginning with UN action in the 1960’s regarding South Africa’s apartheid policies which had divested all human and legal rights from the black majority.

Through their efforts IADL lawyers have helped to establish fundamental concepts of international and domestic law including the declaration of apartheid as a crime against humanity; the provision of prisoner of war status to combatants from liberation movements; prohibition of the use of unilateral force by one nation against another; the recognized legal right of peoples to self-determination; the recognized legal rights of women and children; and the almost universal public policy acceptance that there should be legal remedies for racial, religious, economic and cultural discrimination and persecution.

Current campaigns
Free the five
The Cuban Five are five Cuban men who are in U.S. prison, serving four life sentences and 75 years collectively, after being wrongly convicted in U.S. federal court in Miami, on June 8, 2001.

Global Campaign to defend Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution
Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution is a “No War” clause. It went into effect on May 3, 1947, immediately after World War II. In the article text, the Japanese Government formally renounce war as a right of sovereignty and the refusal to settle disputes using military force. The article also states that military forces with war potential will not be maintained.

Compensate Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange
During the American war against Vietnam, the Americans used many chemical weapons which burned and maimed many people. The US, also used chemical agents to defoliate much of the land of south Vietnam..

Free the Morong 43 health workers
On February 6, 2010, 43 health workers taking part in the First Responders Training were illegally arrested by combined elements from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police in Morong, Rizal.

Independence of the judiciary in Pakistan
In Pakistan, lawyers and their organisations have been active in the struggle for a Constitutional Democracy and Rule of Law for a long time.

International Campaign in support of Chin Peng’s petition to return to Malaysia
Chin Peng is the former secretary general of the Communist Party of Malaysia. After living in exile for years Chin Peng notified the Malaysian government of his intention to return to reside in his country of birth.
Although he complied with the terms and conditions of the Haadyai Peace Agreement, to date the Malaysian government has refused its obligations under the Agreement.

Lawyers in the Philippines under attack.
Since February 2005 at least ten lawyers and at least one judge were murdered in the Philippines. Many others are intimidated daily, threatened and are being followed. Most murders are committed men on a motorcycle who shoot their defenceless victim in the back while driving by.

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