The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights & the Environment

The Complaint Against Ariel Sharon
for his involvement in the massacres at Sabra and Shatila
Official translation from the French

 

PRELIMINARIES


 




Petition: Indict Ariel Sharon

 

 

  1. Mrs. Samiha Abbas Hijazi, nationality Lebanese (no passport, document #5496895/90), currently resident near the Austrian school in Al Horch, Beirut.

  2. Mr. Abdel Nasser Alameh, nationality Lebanese (passport #0473395), currently resident in El Deek Road, Sabra, Beirut.

  3. Mrs. Wadha Hassan Al Sabeq, nationality Palestinian (special refugee document # 217163), currently resident in Bir Hassan, Beirut.

  4. Mr. Mahmoud Younis, nationality Palestinian (special refugee document # 217163), currently resident in Shatila camp, Beirut.

  5. Mrs. Fadi Ali Al Doukhi, nationality Palestinian (special refugee document # 68624), currently resident in Miyeh Miyeh camp, Saida.

  6. Mrs. Amina Hasan Mohsen, nationality Palestinian (special refugee document # 912/4969), currently resident in Hiba complex, Al Hamtari Street, Saida.

  7. Mrs. Sana Mahmoud Sersawi, nationality Palestinian (special refugee document # 76/6931), currently resident in Houssi Building, Ali Al Bacha, Sabra, Beirut.

  8. Mrs. Nadima Yousef Said Nasser, nationality Palestinian (no passport, document # 602/7382), currently resident in 1 Gaza Building, Sabra, Beirut.

  9. Mrs. Mouna Ali Hussein, nationality Palestinian (special refugee document #214057), currently resident in 1 Gaza Building, Sabra, Beirut.

  10. Mrs. Shaker Abdel Ghani Tatat, Palestinian nationality, (no passport, document # 842/2992), currently resident in Al Bacha Quarter, Sabra, Beirut.

  11. Mrs. Souad Srour Al Meri, Palestinian nationality (document 924/21358; Lebanese passport # 1506936), currently resident in Al Horch region, Shatila, Beirut.

  12. Mr. Akram Ahmad Hussein, Palestinian nationality (special refugee document # 902/9265), current residence in Shatila camp, Beirut.

  13. Mrs. Bahija Zrein, Palestinian nationality (Document # 108642), currently resident in Al Deek Alley, Sabra, Beirut.

  14. Mr. Muhammad Ibrahim Faqih, Lebanese nationality (Lebanese passport #322903), currently resident in Bir Hassan, Beirut.

  15. Mr. Muhammad Shawkat Abu Roudeina, Palestinian nationality (special refugee document #161877), currently resident in Shatila camp, Beirut.

  16. Mr. Fadi Abdel Qader Al Sakka, Palestinian nationality (no passport, document #471/1144), currently resident in Shatila camp, Beirut.

  17. Mr. Adnan Ali Al Mekdad, Lebanese nationality (no passport), currently resident in Al Rihab, Shatila, Beirut.

  18. Mrs. Amal Hussein, Palestinian nationality (no passport), currently resident in Shatila camp, Beirut.

  19. Mrs. Noufa Ahmad Al Khatib, Lebanese nationality, currently resident in Bir Hassan, Beirut.

  20. Mr. Najib Abdel Rahman Al Khatib, Palestinian nationality (no passport), currently resident in Shgatila camp, Beirut.

  21. Mr. Ali Salim Fayad, Lebanese nationality (no passport), currently resident at the south entrance to Sabra, Beirut.

  22. Mr. Ahmad Ali Al Khatib, Lebanese nationality, currently resident in Bir Hassan, Beirut.

  23. Mrs. Nazek Abdel Rahman Al Jammal, Lebanese nationality (no passport), currently resident in Al Deek Road, Sabra, Beirut.


 

Represented by their counsels:
Mr. Luc Walleyn, solicitor, 154 Rue des Palais, 1030 Brussels
Mr. Michael Verhaeghe, solicitor, 60 Waversesteenweg, 3090 Overijse
Mr Chibli Mallat, solicitor, Beirut (Lebanon)
 

Bring a civil indictment against Messrs Ariel Sharon, Amos Yaron and other Israelis and Lebanese responsible for the massacres, killings, rapes and disappearance of civilian population that took place in Beirut from Thursday 16 to Saturday 18 September 1982 in the region of the camps of Sabra and Shatila.

The charge is based in conformance with the law of 16 June 1993 (modified by the law of 10 February 1999) relative to the repression of grave violations of international humanitarian law in particular:

 

  • Acts of genocide (Article 1, §1)

  • Crimes against humanity (Article 1, §2)

  • Crimes against persons and goods protected by the Geneva Conventions signed in Geneva on 12 August 1949 (article 1 § 3)

Equally, the charge is founded on international customary law and on the 'ius cogens' in connection with the same crimes.

The plaintiffs have been personally injured and/or have lost close family members or property by these crimes.


 

I. THE FACTS


 

A. IN GENERAL

On 6 June 1982, the Israeli army invaded Lebanon, in reaction to the attempted assassination of the Israeli ambassador Argov in London on June 4. On the same day, the Israeli secret services attributed the attempted assassination to a dissident Palestinian organisation commandeered by the Iraqi government, which was then concerned with deflecting attention from its recent setback in the Iran-Iraq war. The long-prepared Israeli operation was christened "Peace in the Galilee".

Initially, the Israeli government had announced its intention to penetrate 40km into Lebanese territory. The military commander, under the orders of Defence Minister Ariel Sharon, had meanwhile decided to execute a more ambitious project that Mr Sharon had prepared several months previously. After having occupied the south of the country and destroyed Palestinian and Lebanese residences there, simultaneously committing a series of violations against the civilian population , the Israeli troops penetrated as far as Beirut, and by 18 June 1982 they had surrounded the Palestine Liberation Organisation's armed forces in the west side of the town.

According to Lebanese statistics, the Israeli offensive, particularly the intensive shelling against Beirut, caused 18,000 deaths and 30,000 injuries, mostly among civilians.

After two months of fighting, a ceasefire was negotiated through the intermediary of United States Envoy Philip Habib. It was agreed that the PLO would evacuate Beirut, under the supervision of a multinational force deployed in the evacuated part of the town. The Habib Accords envisaged that West Beirut would subsequently be invested by the Lebanese army, and the Palestinian leadership were given American guarantees for the security of civilians in the camps after their departure.

The evacuation of the PLO ended on 1 September 1982.

On 10 September 1982, the multinational forces left Beirut. The next day, Mr Ariel Sharon announced that "2,000 terrorists" had remained inside the Palestinian refugee camps around Beirut. On Wednesday 15 September, after the previous day's assassination of President-elect Basher Gemayel, the Israeli army occupied West Beirut, "surrounding and sealing" the camps of Sabra and Shatila, which were inhabited by an entirely civilian Lebanese and Palestinian population, the entirety of armed resistors (more than 14,000 people) having evacuated Beirut and its suburbs.

Historians and journalists agree that it was probably during a meeting between Ariel Sharon and Bashir Gemayel in Bikfaya on 12 September that an agreement was concluded to authorise the "Lebanese forces" to "mop up" these Palestinian camps. The intention to send the Phalangist forces into West Beirut had already been announced by Mr Sharon on 9 July 1982 , and in his biography he confirms having negotiated the operation during his meeting with Bikfaya.

According to Ariel Sharon's 22 September 1982 declarations in the Knesset (Israeli parliament), the entry of the Phalangists into the refugee camps of Beirut was decided on Wednesday 15 September 1982 at 15.30. Also according to General Sharon, the Israeli commandant had received the following instruction: "The Tsahal forces are forbidden to enter the refugee camps. The "mopping-up" of the camps will be carried out by the Phalanges or the Lebanese army."

From dawn on 15 September 1982, Israeli fighter-bombers were flying low over West Beirut and Israeli troops had secured their entry. From 9am, General Sharon was present to personally direct the Israeli penetration, installing himself in the general army area at the Kuwait embassy junction situated at the edge of Shatila. From the roof of this six-storey building, it was possible to clearly observe the town and the camps of Sabra and Shatila.

From midday, the camps of Sabra and Shatila - in reality a single zone of refugee camps in the south of West Beirut - were surrounded by Israeli tanks and soldiers, who had installed checkpoints all around the camps permitting the surveillance of the entrances and exits. During the late afternoon and evening, the camps were bombarded with shells.

By Thursday 16 September 1982, the Israeli army controlled West Beirut. In a release, the military spokesperson declared, "Tsahal controls all the strategic points of Beirut. The refugee camps, including the concentrations of terrorists, are surrounded and closed." In the morning of 16 September, the following order was issued by the army high command: "The searching and mopping up of the camps will be done by the Phalangists/Lebanese army."

During the morning, shells were fired down towards the camps from high locations and Israeli snipers were shooting down at people in the streets. At about midday, the Israeli military command gave the Phalangist militia green light to enter the refugee camps. Shortly after 5 o'clock pm, a unit of approximately 150 Phalangists entered Shatila camp from the south and southwest.

At that point, General Drori telephoned Ariel Sharon and announced, "Our friends are advancing into the camps. We have coordinated their entry." Sharon replied, "Congratulations! Our friends' operation is approved."

For the next 40 hours inside the "surrounded and sealed" camps, the Phalangist militia raped, killed and injured a large number of unarmed civilians, mostly children, women and old people. These actions were accompanied or followed by systematic roundups, backed or reinforced by the Israeli army, resulting in dozens of disappearances.

Until the morning of Saturday 18 September 1982, the Israeli army, which knew perfectly well what was going on in the camps, and whose leaders were in permanent contact with the militia leaders who perpetrated the massacre, did not intervene. Instead, they prevented civilians from escaping the camps and organised for the camps to be lit up throughout the night by flares sent into the sky from helicopters and mortars.

The count of victims varies between 700 (the official Israeli figure) and 3,500 (notably in the inquiry launched by the Israeli journalist Kapeliouk). The exact figure will never be determined because in addition to the approximately 1,000 people who were buried in communal graves by the ICRC or in the cemeteries of Beirut by members of their families, a large number of corpses were buried under bulldozed buildings by the militia themselves. Also, particularly on 17 and 18 September, hundreds of people were carried away alive in trucks towards unknown destinations, never to return.

The victims and survivors of the massacres have never received any judicial instruction, whether in Lebanon, Israel or elsewhere. After 400,000 people took to the streets in protest, the Israeli parliament (Knesset) named a commission of inquiry presided over by Mr Yitzhak Kahan in September 1982. In spite of the limitations of the commission's mandate (it was a political and not a judicial mandate) and the total absence of the voices and demands of the victims, the Commission concluded that the Minster of Defence was personally responsible for the massacres.

Upon the insistence of the Commission, and the demonstrations that followed its report, Mr Sharon resigned from his post of Minister of Defence but remained in the government as Minister Without Portfolio. It is worth noting that, during the 'Peace Now' demonstration immediately prior to Sharon's 'resignation', demonstrators were attacked with grenades, resulting in the death of a young demonstrator.

Several non-official inquiries and reports including those of MacBride and of the Nordic Commission, based mainly on the testimony of eyewitnesses, as well as other pieces of journalistic and historical research, have brought together vital pieces of information. These texts, in part or in full, are annexed to this file.

In spite of the evidence of what the UN Security Council described as a 'criminal massacre,' and the sad ranking of the Sabra and Shatila massacres in humankind's collective memory as among the great crimes of the 20th Century, the man found "personally responsible", his associates and the people who carried out the massacres have never been pursued or punished. In 1984, the Israeli journalists Schiff and Yaari concluded their chapter on the massacre with this reflection: "If there is a moral to the painful episode of Sabra and Shatila, it has yet to be acknowledged." This reality of impunity remains true to this day.

The United Nations Security Council condemned the massacre with Resolution 521 (19 September 1982). This condemnation was followed by a 16 December 1982 General Assembly resolution qualifying the massacre as an "act of genocide."

B. IN PARTICULAR

B1. Plaintiffs, survivors of Sabra and Shatila.

In annex to the present charges, the plaintiffs submit a statement of their personal suffering. The originals are in Arabic; each statement has been translated into French [and now English]. These statements are very telling and convincing:

1. Samiha Abbas Hijazi:

On the Thursday, there was shelling when the Israelis came, then it got worse so we went down into the shelter. (…) We learnt on the Friday that there had been a massacre. I went to my neighbours' house. I saw our neighbour Mustapha Al Habarat; he was injured and lying in a bath of his own blood. His wife and children were dead. We took him to the Gaza hospital and then we fled. When things had calmed down, I came back and searched for my daughter and my husband for four days. I spent four days looked for them through all the dead bodies. I found Zeinab dead, her face burnt. Her husband had been cut in two and had no head. I took them and buried them.

Madame Abbas Hijazi lost her daughter, her son-in-law, her daughter's godmother and other loved ones.

2. Abdel Nasser Alameh:

On the night of the carnage, we were at home and we heard that there was a massacre at Shatila. (…) We kept watch on the road all night, taking turns to sleep a few hours, until daybreak when some people managed to escape. I thought my brother had gone ahead of us to West Beirut. We waited for him but he didn't come. In fact my brother was one of the ones they took away, and we never even found his body.

Mr Alameh lost his brother, who was 19 years old.

3. Wadha Hassan Al Sabeq:

We were at home on Friday 17 September; the neighbours came and they started to say: Israel has come in, go to the Israelis, they are taking papers and stamping them. We went out to see the Israelis. When we got there, the tanks and the Israeli soldiers were there, but we were surprised to see that they had Lebanese forces with them. They took the men and left us women and children together. When they took the children and all the men from me, they said to us, "Go to the Sports Centre," and they took us there. They left us there until 7pm, then they told us, "Go to Fakhani and don't go back to your house," then they started firing shells and bullets at us.

On one side there were some men who had been arrested; they took them and we have never found out what happened to them. To this day we know nothing about what happened to them; they just disappeared.

Mrs Al Sabeq lost two sons (aged 16 and 19), a brother and about 15 other relatives.

4. Mahmoud Younis:

I was 11 years old. It was night and we could hear shelling and gunfire. (…) We took refuge in the bedroom and stayed there. As soon as they arrived, they went straight to the living room, and they tore down the photos from the walls, including the one of my brother who was killed in "Black September." They ransacked the living room, cursing and swearing. After having looked for us without finding us, they went up to the roof and stayed there all night long. We spent that night in terror in our hiding place, listening to the shooting and people screaming, while Israel fired flares to light the sky until sunrise.

The next morning they started saying, "give yourself up and your life will be spared." My nephew was 18 months old. He was hungry and we were far from the kitchen. My sister wanted him to quieten down, and she put her hand over his mouth for fear that they would hear. Her husband decided that we would have to give ourselves up, adding that each person's fate was anyway preordained by God. The women went out first, my brothers, my father, my brother-in-law and other members of the family followed. My brother was ill. As soon as they heard our voices, they shot in our direction and came straight back inside the house. They asked us where we had been the day before when they had come in and not found anyone there. Then they ordered the women and children to go out. My brother-in-law started kissing his little girl as if he were saying goodbye. An armed man came towards my niece, tied a rope around her neck and threatened to strangle her if her father didn't let go of her. He let go of her and gave her to me. They wanted to take me too but my mother told them I was a girl. They made my mother and the women walk to the Sports Centre. While I was walking I saw my aunt's husband, Abu Nayef, killed near our house with blows of an axe to his head. The dead bodies were disfigured. While I was carrying my niece, I bumped into a dead body that had been hit with an axe and I fell over. They knew then that I was a boy, and one of them put me up against the wall; he wanted to fire a bullet into my head. My mother begged him and kissed his feet so that he would let me go. He pushed her away. When he did that, he heard the clinking of some money she had hidden next to her chest. He asked her what that meant. She replied that he could have all the money he wanted but he had to let me stay with her. In this way we carried on our way and we arrived at the Sports Centre. The Israeli bulldozers were busy digging large trenches. We were told that we all had to get in because they wanted to bury us all alive. My mother started begging him again, and then she asked for a mouthful of water before dying.

At the Sports Centre, I saw the Israeli military, as well as tanks, bulldozers and artillery, all Israeli. We also saw groups of Phalangists with the Israelis.

The Sports Centre was packed with women and children. We stayed there until sunset. An Israeli came then and he said, "Everyone go to the Cola region, whoever comes back to the camp will die." We left, as they fired shots in our direction.

Mr Younis lost his father, three brothers, his maternal uncle, his maternal cousin, two paternal cousins and other members of his family.

5. Fadia Ali Al Doukhi:

When the shelling started and we knew that Israel had surrounded the camp, my father told us to escape. We asked him to come with us, but he refused because he wanted to protect the house. We escaped, leaving him in the house. Later, we found out that a massacre had taken place. We found out that my father was dead and we saw his picture in the newspaper. His foot had been cut off. Our neighbour in the house where my father had sheltered told us how they killed him.

Mrs Al Doukhi, who was 11 years old at the time, lost her father.

6. Amina Hasan Mohsen:

We were at home the Thursday when the shelling started. I didn't know what was going on outside. When the shelling intensified, I tried to go out to save myself and the children. When we went out, the dead bodies were spread out over the street. My children were afraid. An Israeli told us to go out. Then we saw someone speaking Lebanese. When we went out under cover of the Israelis, they started shouting at us. At that moment I counted my children and I saw that Samir was missing; when he saw the dead people on the ground he got scared and ran away. At that moment I didn't have the presence of mind to go looking for him because the whole area was full of Israeli and Lebanese troops. We escaped, and when the massacre was over I looked for Samir, but the corpses were so mutilated I couldn't recognise him among them.

Mrs Mohsen lost her 16-year-old son.

7. Sana Mahmoud Sersawi:

We lived in the Said area of Sabra, and when the shelling started we sought refuge at my parents' house in Shatila. This happened on the Wednesday. At about midnight, some women who came from the western quarter said that there was killing. We escaped once again, towards the interior of the camp. Then, when daybreak came, we hid ourselves in the shelter of the rest home. I was pregnant at the time, and I had two daughters who were still taking milk. We stayed in the rest home for two days, until Saturday. We didn't have any more milk. My husband went out to get some for the girls. That night was so long, and the Israelis were firing flares to illuminate the sky. It was like this when my husband went to Sabra. The Israelis had come as far as the Gaza hospital. After that, I went out to look for him, and my sister went to look for her husband. We arrived at the entrance to Shatila. There, they had put the men on one side and the women on the other side. I started looking among all the men. I saw him, and I said to him, "You know, these are Phalangists." He replied, "What happened at Tel al Zaater will happen to us." The armed men ordered us to walk in front, and the men behind. We walked like this until we arrived at the communal grave. There, the bulldozer had started digging. Among us was a man who was wearing a white nurse's shirt; they called him and filled him with bullets in front of everyone. The women started screaming. The Israelis posted in front of the Kuwait embassy and in front of the Rihab station requested through loudspeakers that we be delivered to them.

That's how we found ourselves in their hands. They took us to the Sports Centre, and the men were supposed to walk behind us. But they took the men's shirts off and started blindfolding them with them. In that way, at the Sports Centre, the Israelis submitted the young people to an interrogation, and the Phalangists delivered 200 people to them. And that's how neither my husband nor my sister's husband ever came back.

Mrs Sersawi lost her 30-year-old husband and her brother-in-law.

8. Nadima Yousef Said Nasser:

It was the Thursday. Suddenly the street was deserted. My mother went to the neighbours' house, and the shelling started. About 10 families were gathered at the neighbours' house. A little while later, a woman came in from the Irsan quarter. She shouted, "They've killed Hassan's wife!" She was carrying her children and shouting that it was a massacre. I picked up one of my twin daughters, she was a year old, and I went to my husband and said, "They say that there's a massacre." He replied, "Don't be silly." I took one of my daughters and gave him the other one, but the shelling got stronger and we went back to the neighbours in the shelter. The shelter was full of women, men and children; a woman from Tel Al Zaater was crying, saying, "This is what happened at Tel Al Zaater."

A little later, I went out of the shelter, and I saw armed men who were putting the men against the walls. I saw a neighbour; they tore open her stomach. Some women came out of the house opposite and started waving her scarf around, saying, "We must give ourselves up." Suddenly I heard my sister shouting, "They've cut his throat!" I thought that my parents had been killed. I rushed to see them, carrying my daughter. They killed my sister's husband in front of me. I went up, I saw them shooting at the men. They killed them all. I fled. My other daughter stayed with her father. The armed men left, taking the men out of the shelter. My husband was among them. On entering the camp a Lebanese woman came; she had seen my husband holding my daughter. She saw how my husband was killed by a Phalangist, with the blow of an axe to his head. My daughter was covered in blood. The man gave her to the Lebanese woman, who came back to the camp and gave her to some relatives of mine. I fled to Gaza hospital. When they entered the hospital, I escaped a second time.

Mrs Said Nasser lost her husband, her father-in-law, three of her husband's nephews and five other relatives.

9. Mouna Ali Hussein:

I was in my house in Horch, I was 4 months pregnant and I had an 8-month-old son. We lived peacefully. We heard the Israeli aeroplanes flying intensively overhead, their noise got louder and then the shooting started. I took my son and I said to my husband, "I want to go to my parents' house in the Western quarter." We went, and when we were there, the shooting increased. We stayed with neighbours who had a ground floor house with two floors. When the shelling got worse, we stayed inside. It was six o'clock. We closed the door and stayed inside. There were only women and children there, except for my husband and a young man. We heard people shouting outside, and the armed men said, "Don't shoot, use the axe. If they hear shooting they will escape. A bomb exploded near the house, and everyone started screaming. They heard us, and started shooting at us. The young man was killed while he was trying to put the candle out. We shouted even louder when he was killed in front of us. They carried on shooting, and when they heard us they threw a bomb at us. A woman was injured, and so was my mother. The bedroom became a river of blood. The soldiers started shouting at us, "Come out! If you don't come out we will dynamite the house!" They insulted us. My mother opened the door, saying that she would sacrifice herself. She saw ten armed men. She said to one of them, "Don't kill us." He replied, "Everyone out, get in a line." One after the other we went out. I stayed with my husband and with my other son, and then we went out. They said to my husband, "Come here, you." My husband was carrying our son, so he gave him to me. The armed man said to him, "Get back." My husband thought he wanted his ID card. As he was backing away, they machine-gunned him down in front of me. He didn't say a word; he fell. I waited for my turn. They insulted me. I followed my mother and my sister to the orphanage, and we fled. The children lived alone, their father didn't have any brothers or close relatives. They had no one at their side. Other orphans will find an uncle, but my children have only me. God help us. My son, even at his age, really needs a father to help him, someone he can talk to about his problems. When you're an only child, what a huge empty space that would leave.

Mrs Ali Hussein lost her husband and her brother-in-law.

10. Shaker Abdel Ghani Natat:

It was Saturday 18 September and we were at home when I went to check the car outside. That's when I saw some soldiers; I thought they were from the Lebanese army. They demanded to search the house; the family was asleep so I woke them up and we all went outside. They took us towards Shatila camp. As we were walking, we passed people who had been killed and corpses and I realised then that there was a massacre. They drove us to the Rihab station; they wanted to take us to the Kuwait embassy. That's when the cars stopped and loaded up with youths, nothing but youths, including my son.

As for us, they delivered us to the Israelis and the Israelis took us to the Sports Centre, where they kept us.

That's how they took some people away, while they left others. My son was put in a car in front of me; I saw them take him, but I have no idea what became of him that day.

Mr Abdel Gahni Natat's son was 22 years old at the time.

11. Su'ad Srour Meri:

On Wednesday, after Bashir Gemayel had been killed, we heard Israeli helicopters flying overhead at a low altitude, and on Wednesday night the Israelis started firing illumination flares, which lit up the camp as though it was day. Some of my friends went down into the shelter. On Thursday evening I went with my brother Maher to see some friends and tell them to come and sleep at our house; on the way the road was full of corpses. I went into the shelter but I didn't find anyone there, so we went back. Suddenly I saw our neighbour, who was injured and had been thrown on the ground. I asked him where our friends were, he replied that they had taken the girls and asked me to help him, but I couldn't rescue him and I went straight back home with my brother. Maher immediately told my father that there was a massacre. I found out from our neighbour that the Phalangists were there. When my father found out, he said that we had to stay inside the house. Our neighbour was also there. We stayed in the house all night long. On Friday morning my brother Bassam and our neighbour climbed up to the roof to see what was happening, but the Phalangists spotted them straight away. A few moments later, around 13 men knocked on the door of our house. My father asked who they were, they said, "Israelis." We got up to see what they wanted; they said, "You're still here," and then they asked my father if he had anything. He said he had some money. They took the money and hit my father. I asked them, "How can you hit an old man?" Then they hit me. They lined us up in the living room and they started discussing whether or not to kill us. Then they lined us up against the wall and shot us. Those who died died; I survived with my mother. My brothers Maher and Ismail were hiding in the bathroom. When they [the soldiers] left the house, I started to call my brothers' names; when one of them replied I knew he wasn't dead. My mother and my sister were able to escape from the house, but I was incapable. A few moments later while I was moving, they [the soldiers] came back, they said to me, "you're still alive?" and shot me again. I pretended to be dead. That night I got up and I stayed until Saturday. I pulled myself along crawling into the middle of the room and I covered the bodies. As I put out my hand to reach for the water jug they shot at me immediately. I only felt a bullet in my hand and the man started swearing. The second man came and he hit me on the head with his gun; I fainted. I stayed like that until Sunday, when our neighbour came and rescued me.

Mrs Al Meri lost her father, three brothers, (aged 11, 6 and 3) and two sisters (18 months and 9 months).

12. Akram Ahmad Hussein:

[The twelfth plaintiff, Mr Akram Ahmad Hussein, was not at Sabra and Shatila at the time of the events, cf. infra, part B3 of this submission.]

13. Bahija Zrein:

We were at home and we got wind of a massacre, but we didn't believe it. In the night, two young men came to our house and told us that there was a massacre in the camp. We then went outside to see what was happening. We saw the Lebanese Forces standing outside; they called us. There were a lot of people and we thought they were Israelis. When we heard their Lebanese accents I ran away, but they followed me and arrested us, young people, both men and women. All this happened at about 5 o'clock in the morning.

They went into the area and took away about 18 young people, while confining us - men, women and children - in the camp. I saw my brothers and some children among the men they took away. While we were walking, we saw people who had been killed with axes. Among them were doctors from Gaza hospital. They lined them up and slaughtered them; then they started shooting at us and killed a large number of people, including 18 of our neighbours' sons. While they were shooting, the whole camp was surrounded by Israeli tanks and all the diggers were Israeli. An Israeli patrol presented itself to us and asked us to go to the Sports Centre. The men went, while we women were taken to the Kuwait embassy.

That's how we saw them loading the young people into the cars. Among those young people was my brother. They blindfolded them and they loaded my brother in the car. That's how he disappeared and I have never seen him again since.

Mrs Zrein's brother was 22 years old at the time of the events.

14. Mohammed Ibrahim Faqih:

That morning, they started shelling around the outside of the camps, including Shatila, and we could hear the sustained shooting. The shelling reached the main roads and we didn't know what the reason for it was. It was incredible. We couldn't even move from one place to another or escape because of the shells and machine-gun fire.

We stayed at home and suddenly a shell hit our neighbours' house. Some of the shrapnel hit my son in the chest and the leg, and we took him to Akka hospital, but they wouldn't admit him because of the large number of injured people already there. We took him to Gaza hospital. My brother and I stayed with him at the hospital, but the shelling of Sabra and Shatila camps intensified. A woman came to tell us that she had seen them coming; I fled but I saw how they entered and took away all the injured and sick people. So I escaped and I came back three hours later. They had taken away many people and the only one left was my injured son. I don't know how many people they took away alive.

Then we took my son to a hospital in Hamra, and the next day I heard that they had come to Sabra and they had taken away the girls. When I came back here I saw my daughter Fatima had been hit with an axe, along with my little girl. I noticed that they had dug a ditch in the ground and they had buried them alive in the ditch. The baby's throat had been slit. I also saw people who had been killed and pregnant women with their stomachs ripped open. About thirty young people had been massacred near our house, without any distinction made as to whether they were Lebanese or Palestinian. They didn't spare anyone; they killed everyone they came across. In the home of our neighbour Ali Salim Fayad, they had killed his wife and children.

My God, what can I say, what can I tell you? They had demolished the shops in Sabra road and dug large ditches where they had buried the victims. I saw about 400 children's corpses. They upturned the earth and buried them. From the twelve members of our neighbour's family, eleven were killed and only one escaped.

Mr Faqih's two daughters were aged 2˝ and 14 at the time of the events.

15. Mohammed Shawqat Abu Roudeina:

I was at home with my father, my mother and my sister. When the shelling started, we were at the home of my father's uncle. There, the shelling started again, and we went into the bedroom, the men staying in the salon. Then we went to a neighbour's house. There were about 25 or more of us. A little later, we heard the cries of a girl who had been injured in the back. Armed men had stationed themselves in the area. Then we heard shooting, screams and strange voices. Aida, my cousin, went up to the shop and turned on the light. A man slit her throat and they dragged her by her hair. She started screaming "Daddy!" then her voice went dead. Her father wanted to follow her. They killed him immediately. That's how they understood that we were in the house. They came down to the floor above us, where they broke and ransacked everything and we heard them calling out to each other, "George, Tony…" When we heard them breaking everything our voices rose, and that's how they knew that we were on the floor below. One of them came down and saw us. He immediately told the others, and they all came down. My father was sitting on a chair, and as soon as he saw them, he kissed me, put some cologne on me and told my mother to take good care of the children. My father's cousin said to his wife, "the children are your responsibility."

I won't forget. The image of that day is engraved in my memory. They ordered the men to stand against the wall. They made us go out behind them into the road. When I got to the door, I looked up at the red sky, red streaked with flare grenades. Once we arrived at the beginning of the road, we heard the shots aimed at my father and my uncle, as well as some shouting. We walked several metres, flanked by armed men. My cousin saw her father and she started screaming. I saw my father's car, which they had opened and were sitting in. That image is also engraved in my memory, because I asked my mother what they were doing with my father's car but she didn't reply. As we walked along we saw the dead people.

They took us to the Sports Centre, and they placed us there in a room where there was a woman and her children. They brought people there. They took some of them away in cars and killed the others. At that moment, the Israeli tanks were there. Suddenly a mine from the beginning of the Israeli invasion exploded. They ran away, and so did we.

Mr Abu Roudeina lost his father, his pregnant sister, his brother-in-law and three other members of his family.

16. Fadi Abdel Qader Al Sakka:

We had spent the whole of Friday hidden in the house, thinking that the Israelis were going to penetrate the camp.

On Saturday at about midday, while we were still at home, we saw the Israelis arriving at our house. They told us all to come out. I was a little boy of 6 at the time. We came out and they took us to the road to the western side. My father was carrying my little brother; they told him to give the child to my grandmother, who was also with us. They wanted to take away my father and my uncle, so my grandmother asked where they were taking them. Someone told her that they would be back soon. While we were walking, the roads were strewn with dead people and I saw how they were treating people. My father and my uncle never came back after that day when they were taken away.

Mr Al Sakka lost his father and an uncle.

17. Adnan Ali Al Mekdad:

At about 3 pm on Thursday, after the death of Bashir, Sharon made some worrying transfers. There were foreign men surrounding the region. Some people found out about this and fled. My mother saw the armed men, made them some tea and told them she was Lebanese. They told her that they were only after the Palestinians, and that, being Lebanese, she could stay in the area, no-one would bother her, she just had to keep her ID papers with her.

And we were looking for family members, until I saw her hanging from a tree. After that we set about gathering the corpses and burying them.

Mr Adnan Ali Al Mekdad lost his father, his mother and more than forty members of his family.

18. Amal Hussein:

On the Wednesday, Israeli aeroplanes started flying over the area and the shooting and shelling began. My brothers and sisters were scared. Those who were scared went down into the shelter next to our house. That way, one group slept in the shelter and the other group slept in the house. The aeroplanes continued hovering, and there were more and more of them. My three-moth-old nephew, who was with my sister in the shelter, started crying. He wanted to eat. She came out with him and four others, and they all came into the house. As soon as she came in - this was on the Thursday - we heard shouting, it was coming from the women in the shelter, which we could see from our bathroom window. All of a sudden, the armed Phalangists invaded the area. No one could leave the house. All we could hear was babies and women screaming. They started killing people. We stayed in the house; we opened the doors and then went into the bathroom with my little nephew. We had gagged his mouth for fear that they would hear his voice and come to kill us. We stayed in the bathroom; they came in and searched the house, but they didn't find us. We heard the screams and the massacre through the bathroom window. That's how we knew that they had gone into the shelter and taken everyone they found there, including my relatives. On the Saturday, we escaped into the interior of the camp. After that, my mother went back to see my brothers and sisters, but she couldn't recognise them because they were so disfigured. All that we knew was that they had been buried in the mass grave. My father taught the child who survived (my father's nephew) to call him Daddy.

Mrs Amal Hussein lost a brother, two sisters and several other relatives.

19. Noufa Ahmad Al Khatib:

Two days before the massacre, the Isarelis came to our area. They came, took us, lined us up and then let us go. The next day they withdrew and went into a hospital. We fled, and the day after that I learnt that there had been a massacre. Then the next day I was told the story of the massacre. I was in Shatila, I saw the victims, and I started to look for my relatives. I saw my mother, she was dead and I saw her and recognised her. I saw all the victims who died and those who were still against the walls.

Mrs Noufa Ahmad Al Khatib lost her mother, her sister, and several other close family members.

20. Ali Salim Fayad:

We were in the house and we had some people there. There was a car across the way and we went to move it. As we were coming back, there were some armed men in front of the house, that Thursday. They ordered the separation of the men from the women and children. They lined the men against the wall as well as our Palestinian neighbour and his family and they shot them. The women and children were slaughtered in the road. Before shooting, they asked for their identity cards and they kept those. The Phalangists searched the house and the Israelis protected them with their tanks and their flares. When they shot us I was hit in the back, the thigh and the hand. The night was lit up by the flares. I stayed spread out on the ground. Later I called out to someone who was passing and asked him to call an ambulance. A short while later my daughter came and took me to Akka hospital. The next day the Phalangists came to the hospital and asked my son, who was in the room next door, about me. They took away some of the injured Palestinians. I saw them dragging a wounded man out of his bed and hitting him on the head with an axe. He was young, and they killed him.

Mr Ali Salim Fayad lost his wife, his two daughters, his son and his sister-in-law.

21. Ahmad Ali Al Kahtib:

It was between five and six o'clock on Thursday. We were in the area and there was some shooting. A young man from our area was injured. We took him to Gaza hospital. During the time the massacre took place, we tried to go back but the road was closed. I spent three days away from home.

Mr Ahmad Ali Al Khatib lost his father, his mother, four brothers, three sisters and his grandmother.

22. Nazek Abdel Rahman Al Jamal:

My eldest son went to bring the car so we could escape; they came and arrested him at Sabra Square. My second son went to get bread and food, we were at home, and the Israelis and the Phalangists took us away from the house and made us walk in a line to Sabra. While we were walking I saw my eldest son walking in another line and my sisters saw my other son. They made us walk as far as the Kuwait embassy, and when we got there they said, "Women go home." There was an explosion and the people ran, on the way back I saw dead bodies on both sides of the road, women and old people. They had blown up the corpses and the children were dead. I went home and the children weren't there. I spent four days looking for the children; my brother brought my youngest son's dead body; I had already seen my eldest son dead in the pit.

Mrs Nazek Abdel Rahman Al Jamal lost her two sons aged 20 and 22.

B2. Testimonies, survivors of Sabra and Shatila.

In addition to their own statements, the plaintiffs present a series of statements from other survivors of the massacre.

1. Mohammed Raad:

On Wednesday we were at home waiting for the visit. I was at Sabra and the roads were empty. When I arrived at Ali Hender's cafe, I met some young men who called me over and asked if I knew. I said no. They said that the Israelis had entered with the Phalangists and that they were destroying things. I went straight home, got my wife and we went to her brother's house. We said to him, "Abu Suheil, let's get away from here." He replied, "We are Lebanese, they won't bother us." I was with another relative and I said to him, "Leave your children and go." He called me a coward. My wife and I started walking until we reached the airport bridge, and from there I saw the Israelis surrounding the area. An Israeli soldier shouted at me. The Israelis started asking me where I had come from and where I was going; then they said to my wife and to another woman passing by to stay where they were before ordering me to follow them and wait by the mountain. But I was directly behind Harat Horeik and we escaped to Ghobeireh.

On Saturday we went back to see my relatives. What can I say; people were on their backs, black. I found my brother-in-law dead, he had been hit on the head with an axe; we found thirty other members of the family dead.

2. Jamila Mohammed Khalife:

On the Thursday at about 4 o'clock pm, they were at Al Horch, and we knew that there was a massacre, but we also knew that the Israelis were in the Sports centre; but we were asked not to do anything.

A short while later, the shelling intensified but we thought that things would quieten down soon. We went to seek shelter at our neighbours' house. While looking towards the Sports Centre, we saw hundreds of armed elements descending to it in just a few moments; they appeared in front of the house inside which were many people. We started shouting that the Israelis had attacked us. When they reached the house they started insulting us, blaspheming, and then our neighbours' son shut the door in their faces and we fled through another door to hide in the shelter, which was full of people.

The Israelis and the Phalangists came back a short while later with a loudspeaker, through which they asked us to give ourselves up, promising that our lives would be spared if we came out of the shelter. We waved a white flag, but when we came out of the shelter my father said that our lives would not be spared and that they were going to kill us. I told him not to be scared and to come with us. They dragged us all along; women, children and men; my father tried to escape and they killed him in front of my mother and my little sister. They made us all walk; our injured neighbour was with us, carrying her intestines and haemorrhaging. She and I escaped to the interior of Shatila camp, and from there we sought refuge in Gaza hospital. When they arrived near Gaza hospital, we ran away once again.

When the massacre was over, we went back and saw the corpses of the dead, including our neighbours' son Samir, murdered. And under the corpses, they had placed bombs as booby-traps.

3. Shahira Abu Roudeina:

On Thursday 15 September, after sunset, the Israeli air force carried out some raids on us. We lived in the western part of the camp, and when the shelling started drawing nearer, we - my husband, my children and I - went to my parents' home at the entrance of the camp, to see where they wanted to go. But we all stayed at my parents' house until 7 o'clock pm, at which time, seeing as the shelling kept intensifying, my sister went to see what was happening outside. They immediately shot at her. She shouted, "Daddy!" and didn't come back. Hearing her cry, my father went out. He saw her and said, "Our little girl is dead." Then they shot at him, and he fell. The whole camp was lit up by light flares, and none of us could go outside. We stayed locked in like that until 2 o'clock am. Then we understood that there had been a massacre.

The noise of the killing and the screams accompanied us until dawn. At five in the morning, they came down by the roof, and suddenly we saw them on the stairs in front of the door of the bedroom where we were. About fifteen armed men stationed themselves at the windows, and four of them came in. The children screamed and cried, and we women joined our screams to theirs. They put the men against the wall - my husband, my paternal cousin and my brother - and they pumped them full of bullets in front of us. They made us come out and lined us up in our turn against the wall, wanting to pump bullets into us as well, but then they started arguing about who would be the first to shoot. Then they took us to the Sports Centre and took us into a room full of men, women and children. While guarding that room, they were also sharpening their axes and preparing their guns. It was Friday, at about five in the morning. At midday, they brought back the young men and the women from the rest house, as well as some people from the Kuwait embassy. In the middle of the Sports Centre there were mines dating from the beginning of the Israeli invasion. One of the mines exploded. People fled, and we were among them. What can I say? When we were at the Sports Centre, the Israelis were securing the protection of the Phalangists, and Israeli tanks were stationed there. Also, it was the Israelis who shouted into the loudspeakers, "Give yourselves up and your lives will be spared."

4. Hamad Mohammed Shamas:

On Wednesday, when the Israeli army arrived at the Sports Centre with its tanks, and when we found out that the Israelis were there, I went with a friend to ask them what was going on.

They asked me if I was a terrorist, I said no. Then they said to us, stay at home, there's nothing happening. I went home. It was the 15th of September.

On Thursday 16 September, I was talking to Abu Merhef and Abu Nabil when suddenly we heard the sound of bombs falling on the houses, and the screams of injured people. We ran to help the wounded, and to drive them the Akka and Gaza hospitals. Afterwards, I suggested to my father that he go down into the shelter. The shelling kept intensifying, and we went down into the shelter. The children were thirsty. I went to get some water and blankets. My brother had been away from the house for 15 days because of his job. He came, and stood with us at the door to the shelter. Suddenly, we saw some Israelis and some Phalangists coming towards us, swearing and cursing. They told us to come out. We did. They placed us against the wall and pointed at Abu Merhef; he had 500 pounds in his pocket. Abu Merhef told them to take 250 pounds and to leave him with 250 pounds for the children. When they heard that, they immediately shot at the men. I was hit and I pretended to be dead. Three or four others fell on top of me. They were dead - it was Abu Hassan Al Bourgi, Kassem Al Bourgi, Abu Nabil and Ali Mehanna. I remember that Ali Mehanna survived his injuries for at least an hour; when he regained consciousness he started calling for help and asking if there was anyone still alive. I said, "I am," and he said, "who?" I said, "Hamad." He said, "Please Hamad, I am injured in the stomach and in the hand. Say hello to my mother, my sister, so-and-so, and tell them Ali sends his love." I said, "How do you know that I'm going to live? Is there anyone else alive near you?" He was sitting up and I was still lying down. A little while later they came back and said to Ali, "Are you still calling?" They insulted him and hit him on the head. But he got up again and he said to them, "Is that how you treat us, you sons of bitches?" because he thought they weren't supposed to attack Lebanese. They then resumed their task, 5 or 6 times. They shot to make sure that everyone was dead. They pointed the gun at my thigh and fired. In that way, they had come back to make sure everyone was dead. At about five in the morning, I tried to get up from where I was. There was a wall next to me. I moved along the road and I heard the sound of the tanks. I went to hide in the home of Osman Houhou, which had been destroyed. Suddenly I heard an Israeli on a microphone saying, "Give up your weapons, you will have your lives spared and those of your family."

I tried to climb up the slope in order to give myself up like they said. When I was almost there, I looked and I saw them placing the men on one side and the women on the other. Then I saw them shooting them. That's the reason why I went back to hide in the house I had left a little while earlier. I stayed there until the evening. They were sitting around a table drinking alcohol, there was only a wall separating me from them. The wall was cracked; I could see what was happening. They were saying to each other, "don't leave anything that moves."

In that way I remained sleeping in the house until 10 o'clock on Sunday morning. I lost hope and I couldn't handle any more, I decided to go out even if it meant being killed. I tried to go back to our house, but I found it destroyed. I couldn't walk because of all the dead people strewn over the road. And every time my hand touched one of them, I found their flesh between my fingers.

I saw Um Bashir who had been killed with her seven children. It was as if she was sleeping with her seven children around her. I went back home and sat down with the dead. The Makdad girl came to call for help, and that's how they took me to the hospital.

5. Milaneh Boutros:

We were at home that Thursday. There was shelling, and we went into the shelter. The place was packed with men, women and children.

A little later, someone from, I believe, Rashidiya camp came to take his family. Mohammed Shamas' brother also came and suggested that he leave. But Mohammed refused and we stayed in the shelter. I picked up my 2-year-old daughter and went out. I saw armed men and Israeli soldiers calling people.

I went out first, thinking that they were there to protect us. I said to one of them, "You're here to protect us." He said, "Shut up!" and started insulting and swearing. "Shut up! Are you pretending to be Lebanese now?" I told him that I was from Zghorta and that my mother was Lebanese. He took us away. I was carrying one of my daughters, another one was holding my hand, and the other children were clinging to my clothes. We stepped over the corpses. The area was light as day because of the illumination flares. When we got to the Kuwait embassy, they took Ali, my husband's nephew, and they loaded us into trucks. We headed towards Dora and then Bickfayya. There, a woman stood on a balcony and said, "you're bringing me women; I want men." With us was a small boy of 13, Ali Zayyoun, who was cowering in a corner of the bus. As soon as they saw him, they took him and killed him. Then they took us to Ouzai. The next day they asked us to go back to our houses. Israeli patrols and Phalangist blockades were everywhere. The ground was littered with corpses. At the door of the shelter I saw my husband, my son and other murdered people. Another corpse had been thrown on top of my son, who had been killed by an axe to his head.

6. Najib Abdel Rahman Al Khatib:

Before entering our house, the Israelis started firing flares to light the sky. When the shelling got nearer, my father took us into the shelter until the shelling calmed down a little.

We went to Akka hospital, where we slept one night. But at about 5 in the morning, they penetrated the hospital and we fled again. On the Saturday, I came back to the house to pick up some things. I saw only dead bodies on the ground, and I saw the Israelis and the Phalangists passing by. I went back again and I entered directly into the garden of our house; that's when I saw my dead father. I went to the house and I saw a basin. It was full of people's heads. I fled.

The plaintiffs also present the testimonies of survivors gathered by journalists, and the accounts of eyewitnesses, notably:

7. Ellen SIEGEL, US nationality, nurse in Beirut in 1982, currently lives in Washington DC (USA).

8. Robert FISK, nationality British, journalist, one of the first journalists to visit the camps after the massacre.

9. Nabil AHMED, survivor, currently lives in Washington DC.

10. Jean GENET, nationality French, poet and playwright, visited the camps immediately after the massacre.

11. Dr Swee CHAL ANG, nationality Singaporean, doctor in Gaza hospital, Sabra, at the time of the massacre.

12. Dr Per MIEHLUMSHAGEN, nationality Norwegian, idem.

13. Dr Ben ALOFS, nationality Dutch, currently lives in Great Britain, nurse in the Gaza hospital, Sabra, at the time of the massacre.

14. Dr David GREY, nationality British, currently lives in Great Britain, doctor in Gaza hospital, Sabra, at the time of the massacre (Dr Grey was one of the three doctors who returned to the hospital after the initial evacuation and with an official 'laissez-passer' from the Israeli army.

B3: Other plaintiffs:

12. Akram Ahmad Hussein:

Mr Hussein was in Tripoli at the time of the events. He lost his entire family: his mother, five brothers (aged 17, 13, 12, 11 and 11) and two sisters (aged 10 and 9).


 

II. LEGAL QUALIFICATION OF THE FACTS


 

A. THE CRIME OF GENOCIDE

At the time of the massacre of Sabra and Shatila, the Security Council adopted Resolution 521 (September 1982) which, notably,

"Condemns the criminal massacre of Palestinian citizens in Beirut"

On 16 December 1982, the United Nations General Assembly adopted, with an overwhelming majority , the following resolution (37/123D):

"The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolution 95 (I) of 11 December 1946,

Recalling also its resolution 96 (I) of 11 December 1946, in which it, inter alia, affirmed that genocide is a crime under international law which the civilized world condemns, and for the commission of which principals and accomplices - whether private individuals, public officials or statesmen, and whether the crime is committed on religious, racial, political or any other grounds - are punishable,

Referring to the provisions of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted by the General Assembly on 9 December 1948,

Recalling the relevant provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949,

Appalled at the large-scale massacre of Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps situated at Beirut,

Recognizing the universal outrage and condemnation of that massacre,

Recalling its resolution ES-7/9 of 24 September 1982,

1. Condemns in the strongest terms the large-scale massacre of Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps;

2. Resolves that the massacre was an act of genocide."

This conclusion deserves consideration. In effect, article 2 of the 9 December 1948 Convention on genocide, approved by the law of 26 June 1951 , defines thus: "...The crime of genocide accords with one of the following acts, committed with the intention to destroy, whether in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group such as: 1) Murder of members of the group; 2) grave attack on the physical integrity of members of the group… "

The file demonstrates that the attack against the refugees at Sabra and Shatila rested upon a profound ethnic hatred of Palestinians because of their national origin.

The intention to harm them was clearly driven by the fact that they were Palestinians. In a book by the American journalist Thomas Friedman, who was one of the first witnesses after the massacre, he wrote:

Afterward, the Israeli soldiers would claim they did not know what was happening in the camps. They did not hear the screams and shouts of people being massacred. They did not see wanton murder of innocents through their telescopic binoculars. Had they seen, they would have stopped it immediately.

All of this is true. The Israeli soldiers did not see innocent civilians being massacred and they did not hear the screams of innocent children going to their graves. What they saw was a "terrorist infestation" being "mopped up" and "terrorist nurses" scurrying about and "terrorist teenagers" trying to defend them, and what they heard were "terrorist women" screaming. In the Israeli psyche you don't come to the rescue of "terrorists." There is no such thing as "terrorists" being massacred.

Many Israelis had so dehumanised the Palestinians in their own minds and had so intimately equated the words "Palestinian," "PLO," and "terrorists" on their radio and television for so long, actually referring to "terrorist tanks" and "terrorist hospitals," and they simply lost track of the distinction between Palestinian fighters and Palestinian civilians, combatants and non-combatants. The Kahan commission, the Israeli government inquiry board that later investigated the events in Sabra and Shatila, uncovered repeated instances within the first hours of the massacre in which Israeli officials overheard Phalangists referring to the killing of Palestinian civilians. Some Israeli officers even conveyed this information to their superiors, but they did not respond. The most egregious case was when, two hours after the operation began on Thursday evening, the commander of the Israeli troops around Sabra and Shatila, Brigadier General Amos Yaron, was informed by an intelligence officer that a Phalangist militiaman within the camp had radioed the Phalangist officer responsible for liaison with Israeli troops and told him that he was holding forty-five Palestinians. He asked for orders on what to do with them. The liaison officer's reply was, "Do the will of God." Even upon hearing such a report, Yaron did not halt the operation.

This collective "demonisation" of Palestinians as described by Mr Friedman is also to be found in Ariel Sharon's autobiography entitled 'Warrior': the objective of the attack on Sabra and Shatila was "to clean the PLO cadres out of West Beirut." In another passage from the same book, Mr Sharon explains the object of the invasion of Lebanon in the following terms: "Any effective approach (…) would have to look not just at specific local targets but at the entire PLO military and political infrastructure in Lebanon. And this, whether we liked it or not, would force us to take into account the entire Lebanese tangle."

It also corresponds with the famous comments uttered by the then Israeli Prime Minister referring to Palestinians as "two-legged animals," and with those of Rafael Eitan, who according to the Kahan commission shared responsibility for the massacre, and who spoke of the Palestinians as "drugged cockroaches."

Also on the part of those who carried out the massacre, the hatred for Palestinians as a national group emerges clearly from the testimony of many of the plaintiffs and survivors. If it is true that a large number of Lebanese were also killed, the ethnic instigation was clear in a so-called distinction between Lebanese and Palestinians. Mr Adnan Ali Mekdad speaks of the conversation between his mother and the torturers in this way: "My mother saw the armed men, made them some tea and told them she was Lebanese. They told her that they were only after the Palestinians, and that, being Lebanese, she could stay in the area, no-one would bother her, she just had to keep her ID papers with her." She did not survive the massacre.

The testimony of Mohammed Ibrahim Faqih can be understood in the same way: "About thirty young people had been massacred near our house, without any distinction made as to whether they were Lebanese or Palestinian. They didn't spare anyone; they killed everyone they came across. In the home of our neighbour Ali Salim Fayad, they had killed his wife and children."

The hatred of Palestinians as an ethnic group, on the part of the Israeli military command as much as the Phalangist perpetrators, explains the phenomenon reported by several journalists including Thomas Friedman:

The Israelis had so demonised Sabra and Shatila as nests of Palestinian terrorism and nothing more that they didn't even know that probably one quarter of the Sabra and Shatila neighbourhoods were inhabited by poor Lebanese Shiites who had come to Beirut from the countryside… A picture in the As-Safir paper the day after the massacre was exposed captured the blind tribal rage of the Phalangists who tore through the camps. The picture, which occupied most of the top of the front page, consisted of a single hand. The fingers of this hand were locked around an identity card that could easily be read. The card belonged to Ilham Dakir Mikdaad, age thirty-two. She was a Shiite woman whose entire family, estimated to be forty individuals, was wiped out by the Phalangists. Her body was found lying on the main street in Shatila, with a row of bullets running across her breasts. It was clear what had happened: she must have been holding up her identity card to a Phalangist, trying to tell him she was a Lebanese Muslim, not a Palestinian, when he emptied his bullet clip into her chest.

These conclusions are supported by the notorious assertions taken up in the inquiries and reports of the time about the collective dimension of the massacre (men, women and children), and the particular vindictiveness against pregnant women (see for example the testimonies of Mohammed Ibrahim Faqih and of Shawqat Abu Roudeina) and babies. From these numerous reports and testimonies, we retain that which mentions a baby being trampled to death , the assertions of Lieutenant Avi Grabowski (who was present during the massacres but ignored by the superiors to whom he reported what he saw ), and, especially, the confirmation of the connivance between the motives of the killers and those of the Israeli Minister of Defence:

At one point, Sharon began to stress the need to destroy whatever was left of the PLO's infrastructure in West Beirut and to point out the danger of letting terrorists remain free in the city: "I don't want a single one of them left!" is how he was quoted in one of the transcripts of the session.

"How do you single them out?" Hobeika asked.

It was an odd question for a high-ranking officer in a militia known for its talent at ferreting out terrorists, and Sharon decided to evade it. "I'm off to Bekfaya now," was his reply. "We'll discuss that at a more restricted session."

To that note, which Israeli authors qualified as "sinister," it must be added that, in the jurisprudence of the ICTY , the "specific intention of the crime of genocide does not have to be clearly expressed. (…) it can be inferred from a certain number of elements, such as the general doctrine of the political project (…) or the repetition of discriminatory destructive acts (or) the perpetration of acts undermining the foundation of the group. " In the Akayesu case, the tribunal concluded that, "This intention can be deduced from a certain number of elements, concerning genocide, crime against humanity and war crimes, by example of the massive and/or systematic character or of their atrocity (…) "

In conclusion, all the constituent elements of the crime of genocide, as defined in the 1948 Convention and reproduced in article 6 of the ICC Statute and in article 1§1 of the law of 16 June 1993 are present.
 

B. CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

B1. Definition and source(s) of incrimination

According to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), as approved by the law of 25 May 2000, there is a crime against humanity when certain acts are committed "as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack" (article 7.1). Article 7.2 specifies that the term "Attack directed against any civilian population" means "a course of conduct involving the multiple commission of acts referred to in paragraph 1 against any civilian population, pursuant to or in furtherance of a State or organizational policy to commit such attack." It stands out from the preparatory work of the ICC Statute that the definition of article 7.1, as well as the specification of article 7.2, was conceived in a very broad manner.

The definition of article 7.1 was taken up again in article 1 §2 of the law of 16 June 1993 relative to the repression of grave violations of international humanitarian law, as modified by the law of 10 February 1999.

It is important to underline that in the strictest sense of the term, these legislative texts do not incriminate crime against humanity but confirm its preexistent incrimination. The ICC Statute makes this clear in article 10. The Belgian legislator expressed this clearly during the preparatory work for the law of 1999.

Once again it has been clearly shown that International Customary Law and the ius cogens are the sources of incrimination for crimes against humanity. Several judicial decisions have explicitly confirmed this source of incrimination , including the ICTY. Particularly interesting in this case are, on the one hand the decision of the Israeli Supreme Court in the Eichmann case, which is explicitly drawn from "the Laws of Humanity" and "the dictates of Public Conscience ", and on the other hand the decision rendered by Judge Vandermeersch in the Pinochet case, according to which, "It is to be considered that before being codified in treaties or laws, crimes against humanity are established in international custom and as such fall under international 'ius cogens', which is imposed in internal jurisdiction with the effect of constraining 'erga omnes' "

Every definition of 'crime against humanity' is thus - by definition - always incomplete. In this manner, it is necessary also to be aware that the definition in the ICC Statute (and in Belgian law) is more restrictive than that of Nuremberg , which to this day remains a primary source of customary law (as applied in the Eichmann and Pinochet affairs).

The facts of this case are clearly crimes against humanity in the sense of both definitions (Nuremberg and the ICC). The following analysis, made in light of the most strict definition (that of the ICC), demonstrates this sufficiently.

B2. First and most important constituent element: an attack against a civilian population.

It is undeniable that the population of Sabra and Shatila was a civilian one. If in the past a limited number of armed resistance fighters had been in the camps, these groups had in any case been evacuated several days previously, in conformity with the 'Habib' accords. If Israeli reports mention isolated acts of resistance, there is every indication that this was a legitimate resistance on the part of civilians, and this does not alter the civilian nature of the population concerned. According to the jurisprudence of the ICTY, even the presence of a minority of armed people in a group essentially made up of civilians does not in any way modify the civilian character of the group. This jurisprudence conforms to the commentaries of the ICRC in the 8 June 1977 Additional Protocol (Protocol 1) to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949 relating to the protection of victims of international armed conflicts.

The concept of protecting the life and integrity of civilians is based on empirical and dramatic historical experience, as is expressed very well in the preamble of the ICC Statute: "Mindful that during this century millions of children, women and men have been victims of unimaginable atrocities that deeply shock the conscience of humanity…" Every attack that targets civilians as such is eminently grave.

The exclusively civilian presence is confirmed by the ensemble of testimonies and reports. The most revealing is that reported by an (unnamed) information services officer in the evening of the first day, Thursday 16 December, at 20.40 - "There are evidently no terrorists in the camp. "

Not only, therefore, were the camps exclusively populated by civilians, but the Israeli commander had been aware of this from the previous day.

Is indicated above, Article 7.2 of the ICC Statute specifies the notion of attack against a civilian population by adding two additional sub-criteria:

B2.1. First sub-criterion: multiple crimes

The first sub-criterion refers to the number of crimes (multiple commissions). The classic doctrine demanding that the crime be committed on a massive scale is not necessarily concerned with the purely statistical sense of the term. There are no abstract criteria, or specific figures for qualifying these criteria. In addition, as mentioned above, the large-scale character is not retained as an element in the ICC Statute's definition and neither, therefore, in the Belgian law of 10 February 1999. On the contrary, a proposal to include as a condition that the crime be "perpetrated on a large scale" was rejected.

In any case, multiple murders, rapes and other crimes specified by the above definition were committed at Sabra and Shatila between 16-18 September 1982, as evidenced by the testimonies of the long list of plaintiffs and witnesses, who constitute only some of the survivors of the massacres.

The references to rape are particularly systematic. The rape and murder of a young woman of 19 who worked at the hospital are well known (cf. the testimony of Ben Alofs), but the phenomenon's recurrence can be found in several passages, mentioned for example in Kapeliouk.

B2.2. Second sub-criterion: organisation and/or agreement

The second sub-criterion in the definition of the Statute is that the acts must be committed in the application or the pursuit of a political collective (of a state or an organisation). The notion 'political' demands a certain degree of co-ordination in the heart of the organisation, state or otherwise, to which the perpetrators belong.

The importance of this second sub-criterion must however be relativised: the most recent evolution of the ICTY jurisprudence shows that the criteria of co-operation is no longer really considered a constituent element of a crime against humanity, but more as an indication of the systematic nature of the crime. The reverse is already accepted by doctrine and jurisprudence: the general or systematic character is in itself an important indication of prior planning.

In any case, even if we are to leave aside the most recent evolutions in the subject, the present facts sufficiently demonstrate that the massacres were planned and organised.

First of all, the highly efficient cooperation between the Phalangist forces and the regular Israeli army (IDF) sufficiently indicates the existence of prior planning or at least organisation, without which the massacre at Sabra and Shatila would not have been able to take place.

The closure of the camps was made airtight by the Israeli forces, and several reports underline how those who attempted to escape in the first two days were turned back by the Israeli soldiers, who had received the order to "seal off" the camp.

Several testimonies made by foreigners confirm these facts. Including the testimony of Astrid Barkved before the Nordic Commission:

Nordic Commission: Did I understand you correctly that all Thursday, that is the day between those two days which we have been speaking about, soldiers forced people back into the two camps? People were trying to flee from the camps?

Astrid Barkved: People tried to flee from the camp and some carried white flags. They went to the Israelis to tell them to stop shooting but they were sent back again to the hospital.

Nordic Commission: By Israeli soldiers or by other soldiers?

Astrid Barkved: By the Israelis.

Nordic Commission: So they were forced back into the camp on Thursday?

Astrid Barkved: Yes.

In addition, over and above the elements of the event already evoked in this first part of this complaint, this pre-planning is clearly a result of the following elements:

 

  • Minster SHARON and Lebanese president-elect Bashir Gemayel had several meetings about, among other things, the expulsion of Palestinians from Lebanon. According to various sources , one of these meetings took place in the night of 12-13 September and was about the 'mopping up' of the camps;

     

  • On 9 July 1982, SHARON proposed to HABIB to send the Phalangists into West Beirut , thus evidencing the fact that he had great influence and control over them; none would doubt that the militia acted "under the supervision" of the Israeli army (cf. infra);

     

  • Several passages in SHARON's own autobiography (entitled Warrior) deal with his intention to "clean up" Lebanon of everyone involved in or linked to the PLO. It is also in this sense that Israeli journalists explain the ensemble of the operation as a grand design of Mr Sharon, which included the "transfer" of Palestinians from South Lebanon if not from the entire country ;

     

  • In his testimony before the official Israeli Inquiry Commission, General YARON declared that he completely approved the decision to send the Phalangist forces into the camps of Sabra & Shatila, particularly for the reason that: "The fighting serves their purposes well, so let them participate and not let the IDF do everything."

     

  • In the MACBRIDE Commission report, it is clearly indicated that the Israeli authorities bear responsibility for the massacres at Sabra and Shatila, because they were implicated in their planning and preparation, and because these authorities facilitated the perpetration of the crimes ;

     

  • In the same MACBRIDE report, the international commission also placed the massacres of Sabra and Shatila in the larger context of a policy of destruction - including by shelling - of a series of buildings of clearly civilian character (hospitals, schools etc).

     

  • Finally, various sources , as well as the testimonies of the plaintiffs, demonstrate that the armed Israeli forces did not only instigate and facilitate the actions of the Phalangists, but also that IDF soldiers participated in them on site. This is confirmed by the very important testimony of a Dutch doctor (a nurse at the time) who was present at Sabra and Shatila at the time of the massacre and who, among others, confirms having himself seen the coordination between the armed Israeli forces and the Phalangists in the camps.

It is necessary to wait for the convergence of testimonies on this subject, which for the first time are to be heard before a tribunal.

From the statements of the plaintiffs and witnesses there arise two new elements: the first is the presence of Israeli soldiers at the scene of the crime, inside the zone of the camps. The second is the collaboration of the Israelis if not in the killing then certainly in the segregation, interrogation and leading of dozens of civilians to destinations from which they would never return.

It is difficult to imagine that not a single Israeli soldier, whether from the army or from the secret services, penetrated the camps during three days. It must be remembered that the militia were directly solicited for the "mopping up" work, that the various logistical aspect, including a bulldozer used to raze houses and dig mass graves, as well as the lighting of the sky that did not let up all night, that "fresh" militia were sent into the camps in the afternoon of the second day to continue the work: all of these orders were direct orders from the Israeli command. The most striking passage is that where Mr Ariel Sharon gave the order to enter the camps "under the supervision" of his army:

[Wednesday 15 September]: At 9:00 A.M. Sharon arrived at the forward command post together with Saguy. After being told of the Phalange's willingness to enter the camps, he repeated his order to send them in "under the IDF's supervision. "

It is therefore not surprising that these testimonies agree in places on the presence of Israelis. In the reports and the inquiries, the names of soldiers who saw the killing and protested to their superiors are numerous. Only a few soldiers (no doubt the most honest) made the first move and confided in journalists and inquirers, but naturally those who were with the militia did not do so, and the inquiry should determine exactly how the claim that there was a total absence of Israeli military elements is still maintained.

Even if an inquiry on the presence of Israelis in the camps during the massacre did not come to fruition, there is no doubt (particularly on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 September) that dozens of civilians, mainly men, disappeared after the "screening" was carried out in the presence of the Israeli army. There are numerous testimonies of these murderous selections, especially at the Sports Centre adjoining the camps, where the Israeli army was present in force.

Following are some of the passages in the testimonies that support these two new elements, and that the inquiry should determine in more depth:

Wadha Hassan Al Sabeq:

We were at home on Friday 17 September; the neighbours came and they started to say: Israel had come in, go to the Israelis, they are taking papers and stamping them. Suddenly, after having gone out to see the Israelis, when we got there, the tanks and the Israeli soldiers were there, we were surprised to see that they had the Lebanese forces with them. They took the men and left us, women and children, together. When they took the children and all the men from me, they said to us, "Go to the Sports Centre," and they took us there. They left us there until 7pm, then they told us, "Go to Fakhani and don't go back to your house," then they started firing shells and bullets at us.

There were some men standing to one side; they took them and we have never found out what happened to them. To this day we know nothing about them and they are still considered disappeared.

Mahmoud Younis:

At the Sports Centre, I saw the Israeli military, as well as tanks, bulldozers and artillery, all Israeli. We also saw groups of Phalangists reunited with the Israelis.

Jamila Mohammed Khalife:

The Israelis and the Phalangists came back a short while later with a loudspeaker, through which they asked us to give ourselves up, promising that our lives would be spared if we came out of the shelter. We waved a white flag, but when we came out of the shelter my father said that our lives would not be spared and that they were going to kill us. I told him not to be scared and to come with us. They dragged us all along; women, children and men; my father tried to escape and they killed him in front of my mother and my little sister. They made us all walk; our injured neighbour was with us, carrying her intestines and haemorrhaging. She and I escaped to the interior of Shatila camp, and from there we sought refuge in Gaza hospital. When they arrived near Gaza hospital, we ran away once again.

Amina Hassan Mohsen:

An Israeli told us to go out. Then we saw a person speaking Lebanese. When we went out under cover of the Israelis, they started shouting at us. At that moment I counted my children and I saw that Samir was missing…

Shahira Abu Roudeina:

What can I say? When we were at the Sports Centre, the Israelis were securing the protection of the Phalangists, and Israeli tanks were stationed there. Also, it was the Israelis who shouted into the loudspeakers, "Give yourselves up and your lives will be spared."

Behija Zrein:

An Israeli patrol presented itself to us and asked us to go to the Sports Centre. The men went, while we women were taken to the Kuwait embassy.

That's how we saw them loading the young people into the cars. Among those young people was my brother. They blindfolded them and they loaded my brother in the car. That's how he disappeared and I have never seen him again since.

Fadi Al Sakka:

On Saturday at about midday, while we were still at home, we saw the Israelis arriving at our house. They told us all to come out. I was a little boy of 6 at the time. We came out and they took us to the road to the western side. My father was carrying my little brother; they told him to give the child to my grandmother, who was also with us. They wanted to take away my father and my uncle, so my grandmother asked where they were taking them. Someone told her that they would be back soon.

The indications of planning are therefore numerous and convincing. In every hypothesis, the proof of this constituent element, as with all proof of intention required for the crime of genocide, can be objectively gleaned from the circumstances of the event.

B3. Second constituent element: The generalised or systematic character of the attack:

On this point of jurisdiction customary law has equally evolved since the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials: currently it is no longer required for the attack against a civilian population to be generalised and systematic.

In a way, however, the murders and other criminal actions committed at Sabra and Shatila were generalised and systematic. This resulted mainly from the fact that access to the camps was closed, that groups of killers "mopped up" area after area over the course of three days.

B4. Third constituent element: The moral element

Finally, the crimes must be committed in the knowledge of a generalised or systematic attack against a civilian population.

As demonstrated in the ICC Statute, it is no longer required for the perpetrator of the crime against humanity to have acted within a policy of persecution, repression or extermination. It is sufficient for the perpetrator to have acted with knowledge of cause (sciens et volens, cf. article 30 of the ICC Statute). This regulation is founded in customary law as well as in the relevant conventional law.

Nonetheless, not only did the persons identified in the present complaint as responsible for the Sabra and Shatila massacres commit or participate in this massacre, but they also acted in the context of a policy of persecution, repression and even extermination.

Finally, it is important here to repeat UN General Assembly resolution 37/123D, by which the Sabra and Shatila massacres was qualified as an act of genocide. Given that, by definition, every act of genocide in the sense of the 1948 Convention constitutes a species of the same genus, that is, a crime against humanity, the acceptance of the qualification of 'genocide' automatically implies that all the criteria for the qualification of a crime against humanity are fulfilled.

This moral element will be more developed during the discussion of the individual penal responsibility for the Sabra and Shatila massacres (cf. infra, point IV).
 

C. WAR CRIMES

Committed in violation of the provisions of the 1949 IV Geneva Convention relative to the protection of civilians in times of war (ratified by Israel and by Belgium ), the Sabra and Shatila massacres must equally be qualified as war crimes in the terms of article 8 of the ICC Statute, and as grave violations against persons and property protected by the terms of the Geneva Conventions and of Article 1 § 3 of the 16 June 1993 law, these massacres having been perpetrated within the framework of an aggressive invasion by the Israeli army into Lebanese territory, thus presenting an international character to the sense of the IV Convention.

The victims of Sabra and Shatila must all be considered as protected persons as defined in the IV Convention, particularly Article 147. Mr Sharon's allegations of the existence of 2,000 armed persons inside the camps were patently contradicted by the facts. Almost none of the Sabra and Shatila refugees put up the slightest resistance. Numerous people were found murdered with their identity cards in their hands, dramatically illustrating their faith in the protection that should have been accorded to them in their capacity as civilians (see supra, B2).

To the above is added the fact that the Israeli army was, at the time, an occupation force in the sense of article 4 of the same IV Convention, and that this army had therefore a clear responsibility towards the protected persons.

War crimes consist of, notably: intentional homicide, torture or other inhumane treatment; the destruction of property without military necessity, as well as generally subjecting a civilian population or civilian people to attack, and subjecting undefended localities to attack. All these crimes were committed at Sabra and Shatila by the Phalangist militia, actively supported by the Israeli Defense Forces, who had accorded them control of the camps "under their supervision. "
 

D. COMBINATION OF VIOLATIONS

In light of the preceding qualifications, we must conclude that the actions of the different perpetrators of the massacres at Sabra and Shatila constitute a combination of material and intential violations. The same facts constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of genocide.

There is no ruling in either customary or conventional law to oppose the application of several qualifications to the same fact or combination of facts. On the contrary: in the first case judged by the ICTR in Arusha (the Akayesu case), a combination of violations was established.

A combination of violations was also established by the French Cassation Court in the Barbie case.
 

E. CONCLUSION

The actions committed at Sabra and Shatila together constitute a crime of genocide, a crime against humanity, war crimes and grave violations of the 1949 IV Geneva Conventions.

The present complaint is based on the aforementioned qualifications, which are incriminated in international customary law (ius cogens) as well as in positive Belgian law.


 

III. UNIVERSAL COMPETENCE OF BELIGIAN JURISDICTION


 

A. GENOCIDE

Universal competence to pursue and punish the crime of genocide stems primarily from ius cogens, and notably from the 1948 Convention. In its 8 April 1993 decision, the International Court of Justice declared, "all parties have assumed the obligation to prevent and to punish the crime of genocide " and, "the rights and obligations established by the 1948 Convention are rights and obligations erga omnes." The ICTY Appeals Chamber, in the Blaskic case, declared that the obligation for each national jurisdiction "to judge or to extradite the persons presumed responsible for grave violations of international humanitarian law " was customary in character. If it is true that Article VI of the Convention effectively expresses preference for the jurisdiction of the tribunals of the State directly concerned with the events, this competence is however not exclusive.

From the preceding considerations there follows the observation that the law of 10 February 1999 (modifying the law of 16 June 1993) is a procedural law relative to universal competence for crimes of genocide. This law is therefore immediately applicable, whatever the date of the violation. The Belgian legislator has also very clearly applied the same principle in the same domain with the 22 March 1996 law relative to the recognition of the International Tribunal for ex-Yugoslavia and Rwanda: this recognition rests, in effect, on a formal competence in positive Belgian law in relation to deeds committed since 1991; well before the law of 22 March 1996.
 

B. CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

The civil parties fully adhering to the reasoning developed in the order rendered on 6 November 1998 in the Pinochet case and based in particular on the observation that the crime against humanity can be incriminated in the ius cogens.

This same reasoning can be found in a number of decisions pronounced in other countries, as, for example, in the Demjanjuk decision, in which a United States federal court decided: "The universality principle is based on the assumption that some crimes are so universally condemned that the perpetrators are the enemies of all people. Therefore, any nation which has custody of the perpetrators may punish them according to its law applicable to such offences... Israel or any other nation... may undertake to vindicate the interest of all nations by seeking to punish the perpetrators of such crimes. "

In addition, the civil parties emphasise that the Belgian government and legislator expressly approved this reasoning in the preparation of the law of 19 February 1999, modifying the law of 16 June 1993. In confirming the ius cogens as a source for incrimination, the government and legislator also evidenced the procedural law character of the law of 10 February 1999. As such, and particularly with regard to universal competence, it is thus (as is the crime of genocide) for immediate application, whatever the date of the violation.
 

C. WAR CRIMES

According to article 146 of the 1949 Geneva Convention, "Each High Contracting Party shall be under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts. It may also, if it prefers, and in accordance with the provisions of its own legislation, hand such persons over for trial to another High Contracting Party concerned, provided such High Contracting Party has made out a prima facie case."

In this way, for example, the Military Code of the United States of America contains an express disposition with regard to the universal competence for crimes against humanity.

The law of 16 June 1993 forms, in internal Belgian law, the execution of this international obligation in terms of universal jurisdiction. Also in these terms, the law of 16 June 1993 must be immediately applied, whatever the date of the violation (cf. supra).


 

IV. RESPONSIBILITIES

Not until the event of an in-depth investigation will it be possible to determine the exact responsibilities of the protagonists of these crimes. The KAHAN report concluded the personal responsibility of Defence Minister Ariel SHARON in the Sabra and Shatila massacres. It also indicated the responsibility of Lieutenant General Rafael Eitan, Commandant Brigadier General Amos YARON and Commandant Major General DROURI, as well as that of the Phalangist leaders.

The central figure is undeniably General Ariel SHARON, then Israeli Defence Minister, who personally directed the military operations in the Lebanon and who was in Beirut at the time of the events. Mr Sharon is currently Prime Minister of Israel.

Certain information indicates that Mr SHARON, although preferring to allow his local collaborators to perform the massacre in the camps, might have planned it with a view to terrorising the entirety of the Palestinian population of the Lebanon and thus pushing it to leave or at least to retreat to the north of the country.

The constituent elements of these indications are Sharon's public announcement that "2,000 terrorists remain in the camps" and the declaration before an assembly of Phalangists after the assassination of their leader Gemayel that they "shouldn't cry like women," but rather that they must "act like men," making explicit reference to the Palestinian camps.

It is noteworthy that in the weeks leading up to the massacre, other war crimes were committed against the civilian Palestinian population of South Lebanon, notably in Tyre and Sydon.

Concerning the Phalangist militia, they could be considered de facto auxiliary forces to the military power occupying South Lebanon and Beirut at the time. These militia were armed and trained by Israel. Their leaders would not have been able to take any initiative that would go against the will of the occupying power, and the operations they carried out were devised and prepared in collaboration with the Israeli military leaders.

Finally, it was the Israeli army that created the necessary environment for the crime to take place, notably by surrounding the camps with troops, providing logistical support to the militia and lighting up the camps throughout the night.

As for the named protagonists, one can refer to the names cited in the Kahan reports and in the works of Kapeliouk and Schiff & Yaari.

It is worth considering Article 4 of the law of 16 June 1993 concerning the inclusion of participatory acts to the crime in the sense of Articles 66 and 67 of the Penal Code, and failing actively to intervene to prevent or put an end to the offence in the event that it is possible to do so. This last incrimination - that of the responsibility of the superior - has its origin in the jurisprudence of the Nuremberg tribunals and was clearly marked in Articles 86 and 87 of the 1977 Geneva Protocol 1. These regulations relating to the responsibility of the superior are also present in customary law ,. Also on this point, therefore, the law of 16 June 1993 has not created a new incrimination. Article 4 of this law states and confirms a pre-existing regulation in international customary law. As such, and in light of Articles 7.2 of the ECHR and 15.2 of the 1966 International Pact on Civil and Political Rights, it can be applied to the facts of the present case.

Regarding the responsibility of superior, it is necessary to add that it does not only apply to offences committed by persons in a formally subordinate relationship, but also to all other persons - whether soldiers or not - who, at the time of the offence find themselves under the control of the commandant. The tie of subordination is estimated both de jure and de facto.

The plaintiffs bring a civil indictment against Arial SHARON, Israeli Defence Minister at the time of the events and currently Prime Minister; against Amos Yaron, commandant of the division and Brigadier General at the time of the events and currently Secretary General of the Defence Ministry, and against all other person, whether Lebanese or Israel, whose responsibility will be established during the events of the investigation.


 

V. DAMAGES

The plaintiffs claim compensation for all the crimes encompassed in the present complaint that caused them harm.

Awaiting the results of the investigation, they have provisionally estimated their damages, per plaintiff, at the sum of 1, -€ for moral damages and 1, -€ for material damages