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Posted on Wed, May. 21, 2003 Franks War Crimes Complaint Sent to U.S. RAF CASERT Associated Press http://www.sanluisobispo.com/mld/sanluisobispo/news/breaking_news/5910749.htm BRUSSELS, Belgium - The lawyer who filed a war crimes complaint against the commander of U.S.-led forces in Iraq said Wednesday he will appeal a government decision to refer the case to the United States. The government late Tuesday, acting on the advice of Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, used a recently approved amendment to Belgium's universal jurisdiction law that allows a case to be sent to the country of the accused if it has a democratic and fair legal system. Attorney Jan Fermon, who represents 19 civilians wounded or bereaved in the Iraq war, said the case could not be handled fairly by the U.S. legal system since Washington had already taken such a clear stance in defense of U.S. Gen. Tommy Franks. "It is evidence that there is no guarantee of (legal) independence," said Fermon. The lawyer said he will take the case to the Council of State, Belgium's supreme court, to try and have the case heard in Belgium. Verhofstadt earlier called the war crimes complaint filed against Franks an "abuse of the law" that allowed prosecution of war crimes around the world in Belgian courts until it was amended last month. The law was first used to target suspects in Rwanda's 1994 genocide who fled to Belgium. Four people were convicted and jailed in that case. Since then, complaints have been brought against a string of world leaders including Fidel Castro, Yasser Arafat, Saddam Hussein and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, although none has gone to trial. Following criticism from Israel and Washington, parliament last month amended the law. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk