Israel prepares for Gaza war crimes charges
Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has assembled a team to defend his government against charges of war crimes in its recent Gaza Strip offensive. Justice Minister Daniel Friedman is to lead an inter-ministerial team to prepare legal defenses for Israeli officials and military personnel. Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz warned earlier this week that Israel may face a wave of international lawsuits over its 22-day offensive.
Richard Falk, UN special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied territories, told Voice of America there is evidence that Israel violated humanitarian law by conducting the offensive, "against an essentially defenseless population." He called for an independent investigation to see if Israel committed war crimes. The Israeli military has banned publication of the names of Israeli commanders who took part in the offensive for fear they could face prosecution when traveling overseas. (VOA, Jan. 23)
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