Belgian court dismisses war crimes charges against Bush, Franks...


Mike Irwin
September 24, 2003, 12:13 PM
From Reuters...

"BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A Belgian court Wednesday threw out a case against President Bush (news - web sites) for war crimes in Iraq (news - web sites) in a saga that had strained relations between Belgium and the United States.

The appeals court in Brussels also dismissed cases against Israeli Prime Minister Arial Sharon and Israeli General Amos Yaron on grounds that the country's courts did not have the jurisdiction to bring them to trial, according to a court clerk.

Belgium's federal prosecutor had asked the court to rule on the admissibility of these cases given the recent changes made to a controversial law that had given the country's courts universal jurisdiction to try war criminals.

Under pressure from the United States, the Belgian parliament sharply curtailed the law in July.

The ruling comes a day after another court quashed a similar lawsuit against retired General Tommy Franks, commander of the U.S. forces in their invasion of Iraq. That case held him responsible for the use of cluster bombs and the shooting at ambulances and civilians during the invasion earlier this year.


The 1993 law had caused Belgium diplomatic troubles because it gave courts the power to try war crimes cases no matter where the alleged offences were committed and regardless of the victim's or perpetrator's nationality.

It saw the courts flooded with cases against a number of world leaders, including Cuban President Fidel Castro (news - web sites) and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat (news - web sites).

The lawsuit filed against Bush accused him of war crimes in the invasion of Iraq earlier this year.

The cases against Sharon and Yaron involved their role in the 1982 massacre of Palestinians in Lebanon.

The law had soured diplomatic relations between Brussels and Washington to such an extent that the United States had threatened to suspend funding of a planned new NATO (news - web sites) headquarters building in Brussels. It also warned that it would no longer send officials to NATO meetings.

The reformed law restricts the right to launch war crimes cases to Belgians or people resident in the country for at least three years at the time of the crime.

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September 24, 2003, 01:25 PM
Mighty big of 'em considering the court has no authority.

Brian Dale
September 24, 2003, 01:47 PM
Well, we can all breathe a sigh of relief now. (*/sarcasm*)

Pack of goobers.

September 24, 2003, 02:25 PM
Whew, what a relief. I guess Rummy and Genl. Franks can now reschedule that vacation to Brussels...NOT!

September 24, 2003, 02:49 PM
Let's see...isn't Belgium a neighbor of France? :evil:

TFL Survivor

September 24, 2003, 02:50 PM
The only good I can think of that came from Belgium were the waffles (but those waffles really didn't originate in Belgium, did they?)

Brian Dale
September 24, 2003, 03:18 PM
FN, Browning products and bicycle racer (five-time Tour de Frogs winner) Eddy Merckx.

September 24, 2003, 04:45 PM
I'm glad that the World Court decided to take the heat off of these men. I was worried that they might something of little or no consequence to the defendants seeing as how they had so much evidence... or something...against them.

Just goes to prove that stupid is as stupid does.


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