Sunday, July 30, 2006

UN Human Rights Commissioner warns of war crimes in Lebanon

The statement by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour that war crimes may have been committed in the Lebanon conflict was deliberately couched in diplomatic terms.

Arbour took pains to identify both Israel and Hezbollah as potentially guilty parties. Nevertheless, there was little doubt that her target was Tel Aviv, and her warning that liability for war crimes is not restricted to the military, but extends to politicians who approve their operations was also meant to be heard by Israel’s political backers in Washington and London.

Her reference to the “scale of killings in the region,” and “the supreme obligations to protect civilians” under international law could only be directed at Israel, given the massive and disproportionate violence it has meted out.

The fact remains that millions throughout the world believe that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair should face war crimes charges. And Arbour is fully aware of the outrage and disgust that has been aroused internationally by the appalling destruction heaped upon the Lebanese people by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) with the unconditional backing of the US and Britain.


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