The Arab League has shown a surprising burst of initiative and has been deploying a fact-finding mission to Gaza to investigate Israeli war crimes, according to this news release from the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights.
The news release tells us that the mission started its work February 22 and will wrap it up today. PCHR has hosted the mission during its time in the field.
The members of the missions are:
- John Dughard, Former UN Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories; Finn Lenghjem, a judge and legal expert; Paul De Waart, an international legal expert; Gonzalo Boye, a lawyer and representative of PCHR in Spanish courts; Raeleene Sharp, an international lawyer; and Francisco Corte Real, an expert in forensic medicine. The mission is also accompanied by 3 members of the secretariat general of the League of Arab Nations: Radwan Ben Khader, Legal Advisor of the Secretary General; ‘Aliaa Al-Ghussain, Director of Palestinian Affairs Department; and Ilham al-Shajani, First Secretary of Demography and Immigration Policies Department.
The heavy representation of Spanish experts in the team is not surprising, considering that the Spanish courts claim “universal jurisdiction” for a range of war crimes and other atrocities– as Pinochet earlier learned to his dismay– and that the National Court of Spain anyway has a case outstanding against seven former senior Israeli military officials in connection with the IAF’s 2002 dropping of a 2,000-pound bomb on the home of Salah Shehadeh in Gaza, an act that killed 17 civilians along with Shehadeh, injured 70 other civilians, and completely destroyed eleven homes.
So who knows how the Arab League or prosecutors in Spain or elsewhere might end up using the report of this fact-finding commission?