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Human Rights Watch on Sharon investigation
Washington , 25th Jun 2001

  A criminal investigation into Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's role in the massacre of civilians in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila should be launched, “Human Rights Watch”, a Washington-based human rights group, urged today.

“There is abundant evidence that war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed on a wide scale in the Sabra and Shatila massacres but, to date, not a single individual has been brought to justice”, said Hanny Megally, Executive Director of the Middle East and North Africa Division of Human Rights Watch.

The call by Human Rights Watch came as Prime Minister Sharon begins a visit to the United States. “President Bush should urge Prime Minister Sharon to cooperate with any investigation”, Megally stated.

Human Rights Watch stated that the United States had a substantial interest in the case because the Israeli occupation of west Beirut followed written U.S. assurances that Palestinians remaining there would be safe, as part of an arrangement that saw the evacuation of Palestine Liberation Organization forces.

In 1983, the Israeli government launched an investigation, known as the Kahan commission, and concluded that Sharon held “personal responsibility” for the massacres at Sabra and Shatila. As a result of the commission's findings, Sharon resigned as Defence Minister, but was never charged for war crimes.

Human Rights Watch said that the findings and conclusions of the Kahan commission, however authoritative in terms of investigation and documentation of the facts surrounding the massacre, “could not substitute for proceedings in a criminal court in Israel or elsewhere that would bring to justice those responsible for the killing of hundreds of innocent civilians.”

Source: SPA©

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