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Ref: 79/2010


The proceedings of a conference organized by the Palestinian
Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) in Malaga – Spain, titled "The Rule of Law
and Universal Jurisdiction, will start on Thursday, 14 October 2010. The conference will be attended by
representatives from Europe, North America and South America, and representatives
of a number of international NGOs,
including the International Federation for
Human Rights, the International Commission of Jurists, Center for
Constitutional Rights, Human Rights Watch and others.

 

The conference will seek to lay the foundation for an
effective legal strategy to ensure prosecution of international crimes and
combating impunity. Presentations will
be provided by a number of leading international experts, including a number of
lawyers who have worked on a number of universal jurisdiction cases, including
the case filed by PCHR in the United Kingdom against Doron Alomg, former GOC
Command of the Israeli military, for perpetrating grave breaches of the Fourth
Geneva Convention; the case filed in New Zealand against Moshe Ya’loun, former
Chief of Staff of the Israeli military, for perpetrating grave breaches of the
Fourth Geneva Convention; the case field in Spain against seven Israeli
military officials with regard to the bombardment of al-Daraj neighborhood in
Gaza City in July 2002; and the case field in Netherlands against Ami Ayalon,
former Chief of the Israeli General Security Service, for committing torture
crimes.   

 

The three-day conference will address issues relating to the
enforcement of international humanitarian and human rights law, with particular
focus on both universal jurisdiction and the International Criminal Court (ICC),
in light of recent developments and the UN Human Rights Council’s adoption on
29 September 2010 of a resolution drafted by the Palestinian National
Authority, extending time for domestic investigations and the mandate of the
Committee of Independent Experts. 

 

The conference will also include consultations with regard
to available mechanisms in international legislation, in light of amending laws
in a number of European countries, including Spain and the United Kingdom. It will further discuss possible legal
strategies to be used in the context of efforts to overcome the impunity
crisis, and the negative position of the ICC Prosecutor, which he expressed
during the NGO strategy meeting organized by the Hauser Center of the Harvard
University in Bellagio, Italy, last month; he stated that the Court has still
to satisfy itself that it has jurisdiction over the situation in Palestine,
although he acknowledged the receipt of a great deal of legal arguments in this
regard.

 

Moreover, the participants will discuss current challenges
and lessons that have been learnt, and assess and evaluate achievements of
previous years, which witnessed intensive efforts in a number of countries in
the pursuit of universal justice. It
will particularly focus on the prosecution of suspected Israeli war criminals
for their involvement in crimes committed by Israeli Occupation Forces against
Palestinian civilians and property, as well as the latest attack against the
Gaza Freedom Flotilla. 

 

This event builds on a previous conference organized by PCHR
in Malaga, in 2006. That conference – which was the first of its kind – brought
together lawyers, human rights activists, and representatives of national and
international NGOs.