Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
التضامن الإيرلندي الفلسطيني

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine

Veolia investigated for complicity with breaches of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law by Israel 

Veolia were among several European and Israeli companies investigated for complicity with breaches of International Law by Israel at the second session of Russell Tribunal on Palestine on November 20 and 21st 2010 in the Law Society, London. The jury’s verdict was presented at a press conference on 22 November at the Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre.

Back ground to the Russell Tribunal

The Russell Tribunal is an international citizen based Tribunal of conscience created in response to the demands of civil society. The first Tribunal was established by the English philosopher Bertrand Russell in 1967 to investigate war crimes in Vietnam and has been followed by tribunals on Central Americain 1974 andIraq in 2004.

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine

In March 2010 the first session of the RToP was held in Barcelona and investigated Europe’s complicity with Israel’s violations of International Humanitarian laws and Human Rights law in the ongoing occupation ofPalestine. The tribunal found the European Union guilty of complicity in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people and called for the suspension of the EU-Israel preferential trade agreement and endorsed the 2005 call from Palestinian civil society for Boycott, Divestment and Sanction against Israel until it ceases the human rights abuses of the Palestinian people.

The second session held in London in November 2010 titled ‘Corporate Complicity in Israel’s violations of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law’ .

The main questions the jury considered in London were:

1. Which Israeli violations of international law are corporations complicit in?

2. What are the legal consequences of the activities of corporations that aid and abet Israeli violations?

3. What are the remedies available and what are the obligations of states in relation to corporate complicity?

Veolia in the dock at RToP

In the second session corporations investigated included Veolia who are to operate the Jerusalem Light Rail (linking West Jerusalem to the illegal settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank), running Connex bus services to the illegal setlements and operating the Tovlan landfill in the Jordan valley .

The journalist and activist, Adri Nieuwhof,  presented a very strong case against Veolia  (see Video tab) outling out the illegal activities being carried out by Veolia’s companies in the West Bank,  the impact of these activities on the Palestinian people and the infringements of international laws and norms of these activities. 

Other companies investigated included the Irish company CRH plc (own 25% of Israels sole cement producer), The Dexia Bank (provide finance for the illegal settlement building), Caterpillar (who make the D9 armoured bulldozers which are used to demolish Palestinian homes and farms),  Ahava (from an illegal settlement use mud stolen from the Dead sea to make cosmetics), G4S (provide security to the settlements) , Elbit Systems (provide surveillance along the apartheid wall and make unmanned aerial vehicles-Drones) and carmel Agrexco (an Israeli corporation that exports agricultural produce including oranges, olives, and avocados from the illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank).

Findings

In the public statement following tribunal session, the human rights barrister, Michael Mansfield held that corporations such as Veolia, CRH plc, Carmel Agrexco, Dexia Bank, Elbit Systems and Caterpillar play a very decisive role in enabling Israel to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity in the occupied territories of Palestine.

The Tribunal noted that these companies are undermining the very integrity and credibility of International Law and the institutions that under pin it.

It included in its findings as to the potential legal liability of the companies for these serious violations noting that civil claims against the companies are possible in countries where they are domiciled and they can be subject to criminal prosecution.

Mairead Corrigan Maguire appealed to ordinary people to stand up for the human rights of the Palestinian people and to support the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) against Israel until such time as it brings an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine.

The jury of the RTP was composed of the following members:

http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.com/en/sessions/london-session/findings

Press

http://electronicintifada.net/content/corporations-found-guilty-russell-tribunal-second-session/9127

http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2010/11/23-3