E-mail received: Tuesday 13th October 2009
The Goldstone report fiasco of the last few weeks has reinforced our opinion that only a Peoples/citizen led tribunal will enable public opinion to expose Israel’s crimes and international community complicity.
Richard Falk once said, during a speech in Rome on 22 May 2009 :”It would appear that only civil society has the combination of will and capability to respond affirmatively to the challenge of accountability […] it would be constructive to mount the sort of effort pioneered by the Basso Foundation, the Permanent Peoples Tribunal and the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, in relation to the Gaza events. If well-organized, such an initiative would provide a comprehensive and reliable documentation of allegations relating to war crimes, and would at least offer a symbolic set of responses to the challenge of accountability.”
Two very important events have therefore being put together by the Russell Tribunal on Palestine:
On 16 December a preparatory seminary will take place in Brussels (full programme will follow shortly). This seminary’s goal is to show public opinion that even if Israel has been found guilty of breaches of international law many times in the past, inaction from the EU, UN and other third parties has allowed Israel to continue to act in total impunity. By exposing this, we will emphasise on the need for a public opinion tribunal such as the Russell Tribunal in Palestine to take place, building momentum for the Barcelona session of March 2010.
We have invited people that have worked on the Goldstone report (Christine Chinkin), the Arab League “Dugard” report (Paul de Waart) and the 2004 ICJ advisory opinion (Francois Dubuisson). Also present will be French ambassador Stephane Hessel, Pierre Galand, Leila Shahid, Marcel Francis Khan and former Dutch prime minister Dries Van Agt. Representatives from National Support Committees will also take part explaining to the audience the work that has already been done in various countries.
Then, on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of March the first international session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine will take place in Barcelona. We are at the moment working on the agenda of the session and the jury. We have so far found 3 members:
-Judge Juan Tapia Guzman from Chile
-QC Michael Mansfield from England
-Gisele Halimi from France
We are also honoured to now be able to count film director Costa Gavras has one of our patrons (see full list here: http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.net/pages/The_Support_Commitee-1143887.html
The most important people in this tribunal are yourselves. We cannot do much without your support and help. If you feel that you are able to financially support our initiative, please make an online donation here: http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.net/pages/Support_the_Russell_Tribunal_on_Palestine-1152211.html
It is also primordial that you spread the word. Post links on your websites, blogs, twitter, facebook and mention the Russell Tribunal on Palestine to friends and colleagues.
We need professional media people in Brussels and Barcelona (principally cameramen with gear and Production assistants) that will be able to film seminary and session. We will cover for expenses but cannot pay at the moment. If you’re able to help in this field, send us an email, please.
Media coverage is very important. If you work for a TV (BBC, Al Jazeera, Press TV…) or internet broadcaster (GRITtv, Deep Dish TV, Democracy Now…) please contact us as well.
Many thanks for your support,
Russell Tribunal on Palestine