Monday, March 02, 2009
Iran seeks arrest of 15 Israeli "war criminals"
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran has asked Interpol to arrest what it says are 15 Israeli "war criminals" who were involved in the conflict in Gaza in December and January, the Tehran prosecutor said in remarks reported on Sunday.
Iran, which does not recognize Israel's right to exist, said in December it had set up a court to try Israelis for attacking Gaza. It had said at the time it was ready to try those it accused in absentia.
"In the current week, we have completed our investigation (of) about 15 individuals who were among those criminals," Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi said.
"Based on our investigation and according to article two of the Interpol charter, we asked Interpol to arrest these suspects," he said in comments carried by Iranian state television, according to the BBC's monitoring service.
Mortazavi said Iran had drawn up charges against 34 Israeli commanders and 115 individuals, adding that the charges included "war crimes, invasion, occupation, genocide and crimes against humanity," the television reported.
Israel's 22-day assault on Gaza, which it said aimed to suppress Palestinian cross-border rocket fire, killed more than 1,300 Palestinians. Thirteen Israelis were killed.
Iranian officials have said Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls Gaza, scored a victory over Israel by surviving the Israeli attacks.
Israeli and U.S. officials have accused Iran of providing weapons and training to Hamas militants in Gaza. Iran insists it only gives moral, financial and political support to Hamas and the Palestinians.
Israel has promised its military personnel state protection from foreign prosecution.
(Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Dominic Evans)
Iran: Seeking Interpol warrants for Israelis
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's judiciary has asked Interpol to issue arrest warrants for 15 Israelis in connection with the Gaza offensive, Iranian state TV reported Monday. Interpol denied receiving such a request.
The TV said a court set up to investigate Iranian complaints against Israel provided Interpol with a list of Israeli leaders and details on accusations against them.
Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi was quoted as saying Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak were all on the list. Others were top military officers involved in the recent offensive against Gaza's Hamas rulers.
However, Interpol said it has not been asked to issue warrants for Israelis linked to the Gaza offensive. The international police agency said the denial was an "unusual step" for the organization because it "does not ordinarily comment on false stories reported in the media."
In Israel, Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor dismissed the purported Iranian request as a political stunt. "This does not even deserve to be dignified with a comment, this is crude propaganda, it is a ridiculous, why don't they investigate Hamas war crimes?" he said.
Iran does not recognize Israel and is the main backer of Hamas.
Israel said it launched its three-week assault on Gaza to halt years of rocket fire on Israeli communities. Some 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis died in the offensive, officials have said.
Associated Press Writer Elaine Ganley contributed to this report from Paris.
INTERPOL issues denial of reported Iranian request seeking arrest of 15 senior Israeli officials
Statement by INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters, Lyon, France
While INTERPOL does not ordinarily comment on false stories reported in the media, in light of the nature of recent erroneous articles reporting that INTERPOL is being used by Iranian authorities to seek the arrest of 15 senior Israeli officials on alleged charges of war crimes in Gaza, the Organization is taking the unusual step of making the following public statement:
"INTERPOL has neither been requested to issue by Iran, nor has it issued on behalf of Iran or any of its 187 member countries any Red Notices for persons wanted internationally or other requests seeking the arrest of senior Israeli officials for alleged war crimes in relation to the Gaza offensive in December and January."INTERPOL's Constitution strictly prohibits the Organization from making 'any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character'.
All further enquiries should be directed to the source reported in the media. Since INTERPOL has received no information in relation to the alleged false claim, INTERPOL is unable to comment further on this matter.
Here's the text of Article 2 of the INTERPOL Constitution:
Its aims are:
(1) To ensure and promote the widest possible mutual assistance between all criminal police authorities within the limits of the laws existing in the different countries and in the spirit of the 'Universal Declaration of Human Rights';
(2) To establish and develop all institutions likely to contribute effectively to the prevention and suppression of ordinary law crimes.
And here's part of what INTERPOL says about war crimes investigations:
The General Secretariat is expanding its role in providing international co-ordination and support for law enforcement agencies in member countries and international organizations responsible for the investigation and prosecution of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against Humanity.
Interpol has been supporting member countries and the ad hoc International Criminal Tribunals in the location and apprehension of criminals wanted for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against Humanity since 1994, primarily through the publication of Red Notices and the provision of other investigative assistance. However, many countries have recently expanded their activities in this field, and have established specialized units dedicated to the investigation and prosecution of these offences regardless of where they have occurred.