The Dutch court ruled on the Palestinian case against the Israeli defense minister

FILE PHOTO: Israeli cabinet meeting in Jerusalem
FILE PHOTO: Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz walks past the media during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, August 1, 2021. Abir Sultan / Pool via REUTERS / File Photo

December 7, 2021

By Stephanie van den Berg

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – An appeals court in the Netherlands delivered a ruling on Tuesday in a war crimes lawsuit against Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who was blamed by a Palestinian in the Netherlands. for the loss of six loved ones in the Israeli air raid on Gaza in 2014.

Ismail Ziada has filed a civil lawsuit against Gantz and another former senior Israeli military official, demanding unspecified damages under Dutch general jurisdiction rules. His case was taken up by a lower Dutch court in January 2020.

Common jurisdiction allows states to prosecute serious crimes such as war crimes and torture regardless of where they were committed.

But the lower court ruled that the principles of general jurisdiction could be applied to individual criminal liability, but not in civil cases.

Ziada appealed, arguing that general jurisdiction should apply in civil cases if the alleged conduct involved a serious violation of international humanitarian law. He asked the appellate judges to reverse the decision, which effectively gave Gantz immunity from prosecution.

Gantz, a professional soldier turned politician, was the commander-in-chief of the Israeli armed forces during the fight against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip in 2014, when the incident took place.

Some 2,200 Palestinians have been killed, including 1,500 civilians, in the conflict, according to United Nations figures. Ziada said he lost a loved one when his family’s home in Gaza was bombed in an Israeli air strike in June 2014. On the Israeli side, 67 soldiers and five civilians were killed.

Gaza, controlled by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, is considered a terrorist organization by the West. Israel says Hamas harms civilians by deploying warplanes and weapons inside populated areas of Gaza.

Human rights groups have accused both sides of committing war crimes during the 2014 conflict. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has been investigating allegations of war crimes in Palestinian territory since June. 2014 by both the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian armed groups.

(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg in The Hague with additional reporting by Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem; Editing by Anthony Deutsch and Mark Heinrich) The Dutch court ruled on the Palestinian case against the Israeli defense minister


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