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UN should set up war crimes tribunal: Abdullah (updated)

(Updated 7:42pm, 12 Jan 2009)

KUALA LUMPUR, 12 Jan 2009: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today tabled a motion in the Dewan Rakyat calling on the United Nations to immediately set up a war crimes tribunal to investigate and prosecute Israelis suspected of committing war crimes against Palestinians.

The prime minister, who tabled the motion at a special Parliament sitting on Gaza today, also proposed that the resolution be conveyed to the legislative bodies concerned, in particular the United States Congress, British Parliament and the European Parliament.

Speaking when tabling the motion on “Condemning Israel’s Zionist regime’s attack on Gaza”, Abdullah said, the bombardment and devastation in Gaza should be condemned by the world as it violated the international law.

“The attack on the Palestinian territory in Gaza violates international law, human rights law, international human rights law, the UN’s charter, and is a war crime as it violates the Fourth Geneva Convention 1949 on the protection of civilians in times of war,” he said.

The motion also urged the UN Security Council to compel Israel to immediately cease its aggression in the Gaza Strip through a ceasefire, and for the world body to deploy peacekeeping forces to enforce the ceasefire.

In the 20-minute speech in which he outlined the 10-point motion, Abdullah also proposed to the Dewan Rakyat to urge the UN General Assembly to convene an emergency session on “Uniting for Peace” under the Resolution 377A(V) should the UN Security Council fail to enforce its resolution made on 8 Jan.

As the resolution fell short on provisions for an international peacekeeping force to implement the ceasefire, Abdullah said, there was no one to compel Israel to pull out of Gaza or to ensure that the ceasefire was respected.

He also proposed that the Dewan Rakyat urge the parties concerned to resume international peace efforts and implement the various UN resolutions on the Palestine issue and the Arab-Israel conflict.

Abdullah said Kuala Lumpur had high hopes for the US-initiated Annapolis peace conference in November 2007, but was disappointed that the effort met a dead end.

Urging Parliament to condemn in its strongest terms Israel’s wanton aggression on Gaza that resulted in nearly 900 people killed and over 4,000 injured including infants, children and elderly men and women, the prime minister also called for Israel’s complete pullout from Gaza.

The motion also called on Palestinians to unite in defending their rights and in the struggle for a sovereign Palestinian state, and to express the Malaysian people’s strong support towards the struggle.

It also contains Malaysia’s resolve to work with the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Arab League and like-minded countries to uphold international principles and the UN Charter in tackling the ongoing crisis in the Middle East.

It also appeals to the international community to immediately provide humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.

Abdullah said that the latest attack was the worst by the Zionist regime since it first occupied the territory in 1967 which resulted in the devastation of the small and defenceless region.

“Unfortunately, there are certain quarters who have been blaming the Hamas fighters in Gaza for launching rockets towards Israel. But these are acts by people who have had to endure the blockades for so long, whose movements are restricted even within their own territories.

“On 27 Dec, Prof Richard Falk, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, has described Israel’s bombardment of Gaza as severe and massive violations of international humanitarian law,” he said.

Referring to the recent UN Security Council resolution on Gaza, Abdullah said, the council was powerless to act as Israel’s ally was there to stop it from taking action.

“In fact, in the Palestine issue, the United States has used its veto power 28 times in 36 years since 1973, to prevent the UN Security Council from taking action.

“Let us now urge US President-elect Barack Obama to bring about real change to the situation.

“The US prides itself as the world’s beacon of democracy, but why did it reject the results of the Palestine general election in 2006 which was won by Hamas? It also prides itself as the defender of human rights; why did it let Israel kill innocent children, women and elderly and other civilians?” he said. — Bernama

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