European Union found guilty at first session of Russell Tribunal 15Mar10 March 16, 2010
by Ewa Jasiewicz and Frank Barat, The Electronic Intifada, 15 March 2010
The first session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RTP) was heard in Barcelona, Spain earlier this month. The RTP is a peoples’ legal initiative designed to systematically try key actors responsible for the perpetuation of human rights violations in Palestine.
In the frame this time was the European Union (EU). Two days and 21 expert witness testimonies later, the RTP found individual states and the EU as a whole guilty of persistent violations and misconduct with regards to international and internal EU law. These included: assistance in perpetrating the crime of apartheid – deepened in definition as applicable to the violation of the inalienable right of return for refugees and the collective punishment and ghettoization of Gaza; aiding the procurement of war crimes and crimes against humanity particularly with regards to Gaza; and violating the Palestinian right to self-determination, aiding illegal colonization, the annexation of East Jerusalem and theft of natural resources.
We may all know this, but knowing exactly how and through which laws and mechanisms allows for a water-tight case for justice for Palestine and the denormalization of Israel’s occupation.
The RTP’s endorsement of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) as a means to hold Israel and its collaborator states accountable under international law was also a boost to European civil society groups and prominent figures sitting on the fence about the tactic.