Israel has issued a gag order against the country’s High Court which will now be forced to keep secret details of its ruling on a petition against arms sales to Myanmar.
Petition lawyer, Eitay Mack, has been plying pressure on the courts to end the country’s lucrative arms sale to the military junta in Myanmar who have been accused by the UN of carrying out “textbook ethnic cleansing” against the Rohingya Muslims.
Politicians and state lawyers have resisted the call and brushed aside concerns of the international community over allegations of genocide and massacre. State lawyer and the defence ministry have maintained that the court has no say on the matter.
Campaigners were expecting the court to make a favourable decision today but the Israeli government has moved quickly to supress the ruling by imposing a gagging order.
This is not the first time the government has moved to supress court rulings over controversial arms sales to armies accused of committing genocide.
A similar petition to the High Court of Justice to end arms sales to South Sudan last year also ended with a gagged order. Mack was also the attorney who presented evidence of the sale of surveillance equipment to civil war-hit South Sudan, where nearly 300,000 lives were said to have been lost and two million people displaced.
Mack also came up against a brick wall in getting a court ruling over Israel’s role in arming groups during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Over a million Rwandans are thought to have died in the brutal conflict with weapons that allegedly included Israeli-made bullets, grenades and rifles. However, the official documentation of those sales was sealed behind closed doors.
In addition to these recent cases, Mack was reported by the Time of Israel of having filed a number of Freedom of Information Act requests over his country’s sale of arms to countries in the midst of genocidal war, including Bosnia, Chile, Uganda and Guatemala.