Scotland Yard will examine claims of Israeli war crimes
By Justin Huggler and Ian Burrell
The Independent, 31 October 2002
Police to study Israeli war crime allegations
Scotland Yard is investigating a former Israeli army chief over alleged war crimes committed by Israeli soldiers against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories this year.
Lt-Gen Shaul Mofaz, who is in Britain on a fund-raising tour, is widely tipped in Israel to be named by Ariel Sharon as the new Defence Minister after the coalition government collapsed yesterday. He retired as Chief of Staff in July.
A British Muslim group has accused Lt-Gen Mofaz of responsibility as commander for alleged violations of the Geneva Conventions. The Israeli army is accused of using Palestinians as human shields, assassinating militants, torturing prisoners, and destroying civilian homes.
The inquiry comes after Imran Khan, a British lawyer known for his role in the Stephen Lawrence case, presented a 17-page dossier to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who passed it to Scotland Yard’s crimes against humanity unit. Mr Khan, who is representing families of alleged victims, says the case can be investigated and tried in Britain because all Geneva Convention signatories are obliged to enforce them, wherever breaches are committed.
Many accusations relate to the Israeli attack on Jenin in April, an incursion which provoked a plea from the Human Rights Watch organisation for a war crimes investigation.
Other allegations relate to Israeli operations across the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip during Lt-Gen Mofaz’s time as Chief of Staff. The Israeli military regularly assassinates Palestinian militants, in what it calls “targeted killings”.
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