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[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] New elements against the transfer of the law suit against general Franks to the United States The law suit submitted in the name of 19 victims of war crimes committed by US armed forces in Iraq has generated the anger of the highest circles in the US. Threats are being uttered against the Belgian government. The latter intends to use its right to interfere in the legal procedures, in accordance with the amended law. Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt has told the media that the next Council of Ministers plans to transfer the affair to US jurisdiction, thus following the advise of the Federal Prosecutor. The opposition to such a transfer is growing. A similar interference by the Executive power would be unprecedented in the judicial history of Belgium. Article 7 § 4 of the amended law, allowing such interference, has been severely criticized by the Belgian Council of State in its advise on the Act proposing the amendments to the law of 16 June 1993. The UN Committee Against Torture has addressed an appeal to the Belgian government not to make use of the possibility to intervene in the judicial process. Transferring the law suit to US jurisdiction would be simply illegal. The Belgian law of 16 June 1993 as recently amended provides that a government may transfer an affair to the jurisdiction of a third country only insofar the legislation of the said country considers the war crimes referred to in the Belgian law in the same way -- which is not the case here. The plaintiffs are opposed to such a decision because the transfer to the United States boils down to assuring impunity for the war crimes of which they have been the victims. With the war having been waged in violation of international law, no guarantee whatsoever can be offered that the United States would not continue on the same road in their handling of the post-war period. The peace movement in the United States opposes the intention of John Ashcroft, US Attorney General, to have a 214 years old law abolished, which gives the right to foreigners who have become victims of serious abuses, to demand retribution before US tribunals. It is clear that in such a climate, the impartiality of the US jurisdiction is all but guaranteed. A thousand Belgian and international personalities have already signed an appeal demanding from the Belgian government not to give in to US pressure and not to have the judicial process derailed. _______________________________________________ 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