The case against Ariel Sharon
Introduction [see website: http://www.indictsharon.net/ ]
The case lodged in Belgium on 18 June 2001 by 23 survivors of the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacres charges Ariel Sharon, former Israeli defense minister and Israel’s current prime minister, as well as other Israelis and Lebanese with war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide related to the massacres committed between 16-18 September 1982 in two refugee camps in Beirut.
The central argument of the case hinges upon Ariel Sharon’s Command Responsibility as General of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), which was in full control of Beirut when the massacres took place in the contiguous refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila. Although the killings of between 1000-2000 unarmed Lebanese and Palestinian civilians were carried out by Lebanese militia units affiliated directly or indirectly with the Israeli-backed Christian Lebanese Forces (the Phalange), the legal, military, and decision-making responsibility ultimately rests with Ariel Sharon under established and recognized principles of International Law.
The case attempts to realize and implement the principle of Universal Jurisdiction for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, which is enshrined in the Fourth Geneva Convention and International Customary Law. As such, this case represents just one of many recent attempts to challenge impunity for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Other similar cases have seen war crimes charges brought against Rwandan officials, Chile’s ex-president, General Augusto Pinochet; Chad’s former president, Hissein Habre; and former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.