By David Kattenburg
It was just another Facebook post by a Palestine-friendly blogger, wondering whether any of her FB friends could comment on a Tweet she’d received regarding Article 19 of the 4th Geneva Convention — a tiny provision that appears to sanction the bombing of hospitals that have been commandeered by enemy combatants.
“Article 19 starts on page 54,” a FB friend quickly piped up, providing this link to the 4th Geneva Convention.
Now, I’m not a lawyer, international or otherwise, but I imagine that in law — law of all sorts — the devil is in the details. Which is to say you can easily get away with a crime you’ve committed if a loophole can be found, and you’ve got a good lawyer. Alternatively, a tiny loophole in a lengthy legal statute doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t or won’t land in the slammer for another bunch of related crimes, if the prosecution is on its toes.
In Israel’s case, “crimes of occupation” and “oppression,” “crimes of Apartheid,” “collective punishment,” and acts of war deemed criminal under international law — like bombing civilian installations such as hospitals, bakeries and power plants — have all been alleged.
So, does Israel need to hire a pack of high-priced lawyers to defend it in The Hague, when the inevitable trial begins? It probably already has, in preparation for a bout of “delegitimization” the US will frantically try to block.
I recently spoke with four international jurists in the Netherlands and Belgium. Three of their voices are here. The fourth is scheduled to be adjudicating Israel shortly, and was so cautious I haven’t the heart to post the gentleman’s voice.
Listen to South African native John Dugard, Belgian professor emeritus Eric David, and Dutchman Phon van den Biesen, on the following topics.