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Second War Crimes Case Filed Against Sharon in Belgian Court

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Tampa Bay Online

Second War Crimes Case Filed Against Sharon in Belgian Court

The Associated Press

Published: Nov 23, 2001

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - Six Palestinian fathers have filed a complaint against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in a Belgian court, seeking to prosecute him under Belgium's war crimes law, officials said Friday.

The residents of the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip contend Sharon, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak and current Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and others are to blame for the deaths of their six children during the Palestinian uprising. They allege all six died from wounds caused by Israeli army bullets.

It was the second case filed against Sharon in Belgium this year. The first seeks to prosecute him over his alleged involvement in the 1982 massacre of 800 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. A court is scheduled to hear arguments Wednesday on whether Belgium has jurisdiction.

A third case involving the Mideast conflict is about to be filed in Belgium, but it is aimed at Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Thirty Israelis related to victims of Palestinian attacks say the complaint they plan to file Tuesday charges Arafat with "crimes against humanity." They argue he is responsible for attacks on Israelis since the Palestinian Authority was set up in the West Bank and Gaza in 1994.

All the cases are based on a Belgian law that gives local courts jurisdiction over violations of the Geneva war crimes convention and allows claimants to seek prosecutions of foreigners suspected of war crimes or genocide no matter where they occurred.

In the only case to be tried under the law, four Rwandans were sentenced this year to between 12 and 20 years in prison for their role in attacks on that country's Tutsi ethnic minority.

AP-ES-11-23-01 1043EST

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