Israel hopes warning leaflets over Gaza may help counter war crime claims

January 13th, 2009 - 6:25 pm ICT by ANI  

Jerusalem, Jan 13 (ANI): The leaflets that the Israeli Air Force has dropped over Gaza during Operation Cast Iron warning civilians of impending air strikes and ground movements could help its army to argue that it has not committed war crimes in Gaza.

Amos Guiora, an expert on international law, operational counter-terrorism and the Middle East, said by dropping warning brochures, the IDF was perceived as making an effort to reduce collateral damage, a condition required by international law.

The former commander of the IDFs school of military law and 19-year veteran of the Judge Advocate General Corps told The Jerusalem Post that after doing so, the IDF still must prove that the sites targeted were in fact combatant targets, such as public buildings used as arms depots.

The comments came a day after Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz warned that Israel was preparing for a wave of international lawsuits related to Operation Cast Iron.

I would imagine that due to the events in Gaza, our offices efforts will need to be focused and intensive, Mazuz said, adding that representatives of the IDFs Judge Advocate General were present in the operations planning center and approved each target.

Mazuz emphasized regarding last Tuesdays strike at the UNRWA school that the IDF doesnt shoot in order to hit a school with 150 pupils. The IDF has its version of events, and it will carry out probes to see what happened there. It is clear to all that the IDF doesnt shoot with the goal of hitting civilians.

Israel has faced heavy international criticism for the strike on the UNRWA-sponsored school, as well as for reported use of artillery shells containing white phosphorus.

Guiora emphasized that in his final position in the IDF, he worked on developing a moral code that called on commanders to be convinced that their actions were moral as well as legal. (ani)

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