BRUSSELS (EJP)--- A Belgian couple of Lebanese origin are considering lodging a penal complaint in Belgium against Israel for war crimes.
Lawyer Georges-Henri Beauthier, who is representing Ali Abdul-Sater and his wife Farkad El Husseini, said the couple were on holiday in Lebanon with their three children earlier this month when Israel launched its air attacks against Hezbollah targets.
Their Beirut apartment was destroyed and they fled Lebanon via Syria.
Abdul-Sater is vice-president of an association for a secular Lebanon whose members are moderate Lebanese citizens of diverse religions concerned by the future of the country.
Shocked and Traumatised
Beauthier confirmed a report in the Belgian daily newspaper Le Soir which said the couple are considering lodging a complaint, but Beauthier said the complaint was not due to be lodged on Thursday as the paper had reported.
Le Soir described the couple as having been “shocked and traumatized” by the attacks.
The complaint, Le Soir said, would use the words "war crimes" as used in the Belgian criminal code
The code refers to purposeful murder, severe violations of the physical integrity of health, deportation of civilians and the destruction and misappropriation of goods.
The newspaper report explained that each of those elements of law refers to the events in the Mideast.
The complaint — based on the principle of the universal jurisdiction of Belgian courts — would primarily target Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
However, as head of state, Olmert can enjoy immunity from prosecution.
The newspaper said the complaint also names Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz and the Israeli army’s chief of staff, Dan Halutz.
Le Soir did not rule out the possibility that more complainants would link up with the case.
Beauthier said that other complainants are considering to introduce joint complaint but they are still uniting documents files.
The Israeli embassy in Belgium were unable to comment on the newspaper report. “We don’t know about it, only what is written in the newspaper,” Carmela Shamir, the embassy’s press officer told EJP, adding that "a complaint should rather be lodged against Hezbollah."
The law of universal jurisdiction of Belgian court, adopted in 1993, originally allowed complaints about war crimes from other countries to be brought to Belgian courts.
In 2003, however, after several complaints, notably against former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and US President George Bush, the law was amended so that any complaint will have to be linked to Belgium.