concerned over prosecution of soldiers
By DAN IZENBERG
August 12, 2002
The IDF concern that the International Criminal Court will prosecute
soldiers has heightened since a Jordanian was named chairman of
upcoming ICC conference, military sources said yesterday.
The rationale for choosing a Jordanian involves political considerations
and increases the concerns that the court will be politically motivated,
the sources said.
Dubbed "Comfort My People," the telethon was the
brainchild of Belarmino "Blackie" Gonzalez, owner
of the Santa Fe, NM-based Christian television station KCHF-TV11.
It will be broadcast via satellite from the Pittsburgh studios
of Cornerstone Television, a Christian media outlet associated
with televangelist Ron Hembree.
Gonzalez, whose station reaches 85 percent of homes in New
Mexico, came up with the idea for the national telethon after
he was asked by Andrew Lipman, executive director of the Jewish
Federation of Greater Albuquerque, to help raise money for
victims of terrorism.
the field commander
The 76 countries that have ratified the treaty to date are due
to convene in New York to work out the arrangements for choosing
the judges and the prosecutor for the court, which officially came
into being on July 1.
According to the sources, the Jordanian representative was chosen
as a way of encouraging other Arab states to join the court. So
far, Jordan is the only Arab country that has ratified the Rome
Covenant, which established the court's parameters.
Israel has so far refused to ratify the agreement and says it is
waiting to see whether or not it is dominated by political considerations
and biased against Israel.
Meanwhile, the army is having trouble stopping the media from publishing
the names of middle-ranking officers involved in strikes against
Palestinian terrorists. The measure is supposed to protect officers
participating in actions against the Palestinians from prosecution
by the ICC. The army is trying to revert to the practice of names
of middle-ranking officers not being published, but the media have
refused to cooperate, the sources said.
The army and the government are currently discussing whether to
amend the law where necessary to accommodate international legislation.
According to the military sources, the government could also opt
to take an opposite approach and, like the US, pass legislation
meant to weaken the international court's power over Israelis.
As an example of the differences between Israeli and ICC law, the
sources referred to the definition of a "manifestly unlawful"
action. According to the Israeli interpretation, a "manifestly
unlawful" action is one that is so extreme and far from normative
behavior as to be obviously illegal. According to the ICC definition,
a "manifestly unlawful" act is one whose perpetrator knows
what the law says but violates it anyway, even if the violation
is relatively small.
The army also provides on-the-spot legal advice to commanders in
the field before actions which might violate international law.
This was revealed for the first time during a recent High Court
of Justice hearing, when the state told the court that before demolishing
Palestinian houses, the field commander received legal counsel from
However, the sources refused to say whether army lawyers were consulted
before the air force bombed the home of Hamas leader Salah Shehadeh
on July 22, killing him and 15 civilians, including nine children.