Belgium Backs Down: In the

Belgium Backs Down: In the furor over the “Pledge of Allegiance” ruling yesterday an interesting story was largely overlooked. The Belgian court system backed down and decided not to try Ariel Sharon for alleged war crimes…

“Belgium — Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will not have to face trial in Belgium for alleged war crimes at two Palestinian refugee camps in 1982, a court has ruled.

A Belgian appeals court said on Wednesday that such a case was “inadmissible.” The three-judge panel said a case could not proceed against a person who is not in Belgium.”

This is an interesting issue because a lot of the same issues that will be raised by the International Criminal Court were raised in this case. Here we have a court that Israeli law does not recognize pursuing a politically motivated case against the current Prime Minister of Israel.

It would have been interesting to have seen what exactly would have happened if Belgium had decided Sharon was guilty of war crimes. Israel certainly wouldn’t have turned him over and Belgium isn’t capable of going to get him. Would Belgium have cut off trade with Israel over this issue? Could Europe have been asked to help them bring Sharon in? Is there a possibility that some sort of special forces group could have committed an “act of war” by attempting to kidnap Sharon for trial?

You may think this sounds farfetched but when the ICC convenes these are going to be real questions that will have to be answered. What’s the UN going to do if the ICC decides that George W. Bush is guilty of war crimes committed in the ‘War on Terrorism’ or if let’s say a case is brought against Sharon over something that’s done in the disputed territories? Taking into consideration that the US and Israel would be willing to go to war to protect their sovereignty my guess is that the ICC, much like the Belgians, would back down. But only time will tell…

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