Saturday, July 15, 2006

Israel violated the laws of war and the Geneva Conventions

Israel violated the laws of war and the Geneva Conventions by murdering civilians, the two Israeli soldiers are prisoners of war subject to the Third Geneva Convention

by Dr. Muhamad Mugraby

Today, Lebanon is in a state of war with Israel. The Israeli army has committed wide ranging acts of aggression against Lebanese civilians and civil infra-structure, such as the murder of dozens of Lebanese, including entire families, without being in any proximity to legitimate military targets (no possibility of qualifying as a collateral), and in flagrant violation of the laws of war and particularly the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949, and the Hague Regulations of 1907, at least in the following ways:

1. Article 3 of the Geneva Convention for the Protection of Civilians outlawed violence against the persons and lives of all those who do not actively participate in military operations. It prohibits killing, mutilating, torturing or otherwise treating them with cruelty.

2. Article 49 of the same convention requires the prosecution and trial of those military personnel that commit or order the commitment of such crimes.

3. The matter of the two Israeli prisoners of war taken by Hizbullah, in the aftermath of a military battle in which they were in uniform, armed and on a military mission in an armored vehicle, is regulated by the Third Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War. Article 21 of this convention authorizes their internment subject to certain conditions. Their rights as prisoners of war are provided in the said convention. The Israeli Government may seek to insure those rights through the peaceful means authorized by the said convention.

4. The military organization of Hizbullah, in relation to the war with Israel, is an organized resistance movement recognized under the Hague Regulations of 1907, which were ratified by Lebanon on June 12, 1962. Article 1 of the Regulations requires the following conditions for the members of a resistance organization:

a. To follow the command of a commander responsible for his subordinates.
b. To carry or wear a distinctive sign recognizable at a distance, but without the necessity of wearing a uniform.
c. Carrying arms openly when engaged in an operation, but without giving up the element of surprise.
d. Conducting operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

The Israeli government behaves like the parents of a detainee at a police station. Instead of hiring lawyers to secure his rights it attempts to destroy the entire city where he is being detained.

For these reasons, and as there are over fifty Lebanese civilians who have no relationship to the military conflict who have been murdered by the Israeli army, including a large number of infants, we are being faced with horrible acts of premeditated murder which should be exposed, prosecuted, and brought to trial, perhaps under the statutes of the International Criminal Court.

I call on the Lebanese Government to take prompt measures in the exercise of national legal rights which could lead to the restoration of the rule of law internationally and perhaps even help in restoring sanity to the Israeli Government and its allies. I call on the international community to promptly interfere in favor of a full restoration of the rule of law on an international and regional basis, beginning with the prevention of more acts of murder by the Israeli army.

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