The Russell Tribunal on Palestine will be holding an extraordinary session in Brussels on 24-25 September focusing on Israel's most recent military operation in Gaza, the so-called "Operation Protective Edge". Judges, legal scholars, UN officials, journalists and cultural luminaries will gather to examine alleged Israeli war crimes, crimes against humanity and, for the first time regarding Israel, the crime of genocide. The Tribunal will also examine the legal consequences and third state responsibilities arising from the above.
The members of the jury are Michael Mansfield QC; Professor of International law and former judge John Dugard; former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Richard Falk; President of the EJE Association (Les Enfants, le Jeu, l'Education) and wife of Tribunal patron Stephane Hessel, Christiane Hessel; Founder of the Tunisan Association Against Torture Radhia Nasraoui; Film Director Ken Loach; Writer Paul Laverty; Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters; former African National Congress Minister Ronnie Kasrils; Egyptian novelist Ahdaf Soueif; and author Vandana Shiva.
The Jury will hear from the following witnesses: Genocide expert Dr Paul Behrens; Advocacy Units Coordinator of Defence for Children International Ivan Karakashian; Surgeons Mads Gilbert and Mohammed Abou-Arab; Palestinian Centre for Human Rights Director Raji Sourani; munitions expert Colonel Desmond Travers; Advocacy Officer at Aprodev Agnes Bertrand; former Israeli soldier Eran Efrati; Coordinator in Europe with the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) Michael Deas; Film-maker Ashraf Mashharawi; and journalists Mohammed Omer, Martin Lejeune, David Sheen, Max Blumenthal and Paul Mason. Guardian Cartoonist and author Martin Rowson will be the Tribunal's illustrator.
The Russell Tribunal on Palestine was established under the patronage of the late Stephane Hessel, a former resistance fighter, concentration camp survivor and author of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the recent multimillion selling "Time for Outrage!" ("Indignez-vous!")
This is the fifth session of the peoples' tribunal to take place in the past five years. Other have examined Third Party complicity regarding the UN, EU, and corporate complicity as well as the crime of Apartheid.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu said of the Tribunal: "There is no military solution to the conflict in the Holy Land. Violence begets violence, which begets more hatred and violence. Nor have the world's political and diplomatic leaders succeeded over many years to engineer a just and sustainable peace. Civil society must step into the breach, as it did in South Africa's struggle against apartheid. The Russell Tribunal on Palestine is an important civil society initiative to hold Israel to account."
The jury will give its findings at 10am on the 25thSeptember at an international press conference at the International Press Centre (IPC, Brussels). In the afternoon, the Jury will be received at the European parliament and address a message to the UN General Assembly for its reopening.