mardi 3 mars 2009

Muslim NGOs to sue Israeli generals in European courts

A Turkey-based union of nongovernmental organizations from Muslim countries will seek action in European courts against Israeli commanders and politicians for Israel's treatment of Palestinians, representatives of the organization have said.

"We want to make sure that Israeli commanders will not even dare to set foot into other countries," Necmi Sadıkoğlu, the Turkish secretary-general of the Union of NGOs of the Islamic World (UNIW), told Today's Zaman. UNIW, founded in 2005 at a conference in İstanbul, brings together 139 NGOs from 40 Muslim countries. The organization has its headquarters in İstanbul.

Eleven European countries, including Britain and Belgium, have national legislation giving their courts jurisdiction to punish crimes against humanity, irrespective of where they are committed.

Israel incited outrage in Turkey and throughout the Muslim world when it launched a deadly offensive in Gaza in late December. The 22-day offensive left over 1,300 Palestinians dead. The operation also caused a diplomatic crisis between regional allies Turkey and Israel, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accusing the Jewish state of committing crimes against humanity and saying it should be barred from the UN.

Mubarak Mutawwa, a deputy secretary-general of the UNIW from Kuwait, recently announced that the UNIW would press for charges against some 70 Israeli politicians and commanders over their involvement in the latest Gaza operation. These 70 figures include the chief of general staff of the Israeli military and the country's foreign minister.

Union officials say they have contacted representatives of NGOs in several European countries to assure them that any action they bring against the Israeli commanders and politicians will have the backing of the UNIW. Mohammed Naieem Akbeek, a member of the UNIW council from Syria, has said the organization will provide legal assistance to NGOs in Europe to make sure their appeals to European courts are successful.

The UNIW will hold an international symposium in İstanbul to discuss the situation in Palestine in May.


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