Arab-Israeli attorney appointed to Hague court
An Arab-Israeli attorney was appointed as a prosecutor to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which is based in The Hague. Marwan Dalal, an attorney with Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, will begin his work at the international court later this month.
Dalal will be the first Arab Israeli to serve in such an important international legal forum, in which only a few Israelis have ever served.
The tribunal is one of a few international courts established to deliberate crimes committed in a specific country. The tribunal was established following a United Nations Security Council resolution in 1993, and its mandate is to try war criminals, and cases involving crimes against humanity and genocide. Dalal will serve as a prosecutor in the Chambers, which is the appeal stage.
Dalal has been a senior attorney at Adalah and worked in the organization since its inception close to a decade ago. He has represented Adalah in trials against the IDF and the State.
Among the cases Dalal was involved in were those involving the destruction of Palestinian homes, the killing of civilians by the IDF and the "neighbor policy," a tactic in which a neighbor was used as a shield to force barricaded Palestinian militants to surrender. He was also involved in the investigation against those suspected in the killing of 13 Arab citizens during the riots of October 2000.
A growing trend in recent years is the internationalization of the courts of individual nations over various conflicts, and laying blame on individuals who ordered, or were involved in, illegal actions.
As part of this trend, human rights advocates have filed complaints in various countries against individual IDF officers, including former Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon and GOC Southern Command Doron Almog.
Dalal told Haaretz that this trend will continue and that there are human rights activists who follow the movements of senior officers around the world. "I assume that the State Attorney's office is aware of this trend," he said. "It will continue so long as war crimes continue."
He also said that government institutions in Israel tend to defend IDF soldiers, instead of implementing the law. "There are acts whose illegality is blatant and should be investigated and those responsible must be tried, just like the U.S. does with its soldiers in Iraq," Dalal said.
Nick Kaufman, an Israeli who served at the ICTY for four months, told Haaretz that it is a welcome development for more and more Israelis to serve.
"Dalal was certainly selected to the position on the basis of his proven skills in humanitarian international law," he said. "Irrespective to any of his previous work, his obligation is now to the United Nations, in finding justice for the terrible crimes that were committed in the former Yugoslavia."