News Release

Lebanon and the Law

On July 23, the United Nations Emergency Relief coordinator, Jan Egeland, visited Beirut. The BBC reported: “[Egeland] said the ‘disproportionate response’ by Israel was a ‘violation of international humanitarian law.'”
BBC

The United Nations’ top human rights official, Louise Arbour, warned on July 19: “International law demands accountability. The scale of the killings in the region, and their predictability, could engage the personal criminal responsibility of those involved, particularly those in a position of command and control.”
United Nations

FRANCIS BOYLE
Professor of international law at the University of Illinois, Boyle said today: “Although Lebanon is not a party to the Statute of the International Criminal Court, nevertheless Lebanon can and should file a declaration … [and] ask the ICC prosecutor to initiate an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel in Lebanon.” Boyle is author of the books Biowarfare and Terrorism and Destroying World Order.

MARY ROSE OAKAR
Oakar is president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, which today filed a federal lawsuit claiming that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld failed to fulfill their constitutional and professional obligations and protect U.S. citizens in a crisis or time of war.

Oakar, who is a former member of Congress, said today: “At no time has President Bush, Secretary of State Rice, or Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld called for a ceasefire in Lebanon. To the contrary, the Bush administration has encouraged the violence by sending an urgent shipment of bombs to Israel giving that country the green light to continue in its indiscriminant bombing of Lebanon. This has placed innocent civilians, including thousands of U.S. citizens, in harm’s way and has resulted in injuring several U.S. citizens in Lebanon.”
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FRIDA BERRIGAN
Berrigan is senior research associate at the Arms Trade Resource Center, which recently released the report “U.S. Military Assistance and Arms Transfers to Israel: U.S. Aid, Companies Fuel Israeli Military.”

She said today: “For more than 30 years, Israel had been the largest recipient of U.S. foreign assistance and since 1985 it has received about $3 billion in military and economic aid each year from Washington. In addition, Israel is one of the United States’ largest arms importers. The bulk of Israel’s current arsenal is composed of equipment supplied under U.S. military aid programs.

“The Arms Export Control Act, enacted in 1976, stipulates that weapons may be transferred for self-defense, internal security and UN operations only and establishes a process for Congressional advance notice of major sales.”

FRED ABRAHAMS
Fred Abrahams is senior emergencies researcher for Human Rights Watch actions in Gaza, Israel and Lebanon. He said today: “Human Rights Watch has serious concerns about Israel and Hezbollah’s compliance with international humanitarian law (the laws of war) during military actions in Gaza, Israel and Lebanon. Two fundamental tenets of international humanitarian law are those of ‘civilian immunity’ and the principle of ‘distinction.’ They impose a duty on all sides in a conflict to distinguish between combatants and civilians, and to target only the former. Serious violations of international humanitarian law are war crimes.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167