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Al-Haq commences legal proceedings against UK Government over breach of legal obligations in relation to the Occupied Palestinian Territory
Ref: 9.2009E
23، Feb 2009

Al-Haq, in cooperation with solicitor Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers (PIL), and the support of the Human Rights Legal Aid Trust, will be filing a claim in the UK High Court for judicial review on Tuesday 24 February 2009, challenging the UK government over its failure to fulfill its obligations under international law with respect to Israel’s activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).  These obligations arise in the context of Israel’s breaches of peremptory norms of international law, namely interference with the Palestinian right to self-determination, de facto acquisition of territory by force, and breach of “intransgressible” principles of international humanitarian law. Those violations of international law, and the obligations they entail for third states, existed well before Israel’s most recent attacks on the Gaza Strip but the widespread civilian death and destruction caused during “Operation Cast Lead” and the distinct failure on the part of the international community to take any concrete action to stop Israel’s violations have forced Al-Haq to challenge third states directly, starting with the UK, in order to seek an end to the “business-as-usual” approach in relations with Israel.

On 3 February 2009 PIL submitted, on behalf of Al-Haq, a pre-action protocol letter for the purposes of a claim for judicial review.  Al-Haq called on the relevant Secretaries of State for the UK Government to set out in clear terms what evidence or action they point to if their position is that the UK has complied with its international obligations both before and after Operation Cast Lead, with particular emphasis on the UK’s responsibility to investigate whether war crimes have been committed by Israel in Gaza pursuant to Operation Cast Lead, where there is a causal link between the commission of those war crimes and acts within the UK’s jurisdiction.  The failure by the UK Government to satisfy the request has led us to proceed with the filing of the claim.

The claim will be filed Tuesday 24 February 2009 at 11:00am GMT at the UK High Court of Justice.  You are invited to attend a press conference and demonstration to be held outside of the Court after the filing in London or a simultaneous press conference to be held in Ramallah at 1:00pm local time at the Ramattan Studios.  Please do not hesitate to contact [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or require further information pertaining to the case.