Global Policy Forum

Try Sharon, Says War Crime Judge


By Katherine Butler

June 18, 2001

Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister, should be tried for war crimes in connection with the 1982 massacre of Palestinian civilians in Lebanon, the former chief prosecutor to the International War Crimes Tribunal for Yugoslavia has suggested.

In a BBC Panorama programme last night, Judge Richard Goldstone, former chief prosecutor for the UN criminal tribunals for both the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, said: "If the person who gave the command knows, or should know ... that there's a situation where innocent civilians are going to be injured or killed then that person is as responsible, in my book more responsible even, than the people who carry out the orders".

Mr Sharon was Defence Minister when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, and Israeli forces allowed their allies in the Lebanese Christian militias to enter the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps and massacre up to 2,000 people. An Israeli inquiry held Mr Sharon responsible.

Judge Goldstone said it was regrettable that no criminal prosecutions had been brought.

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