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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

'Israel throwing commanders to take the resposibility'

Tue, 27 Jan 2009 19:27:58 GMT | PressTV

Israel has banned the publication of the full name
and photographs of the
field commanders of
the Gaza operation.
Israel is pinning the blame of war crimes on its Gaza operation commanders by concealing their identities, a top Iranian general says.

Amid calls for taking legal action against Israeli individuals involved in carrying out and ordering the war on Gaza, Brigadier General Mir-Faisal Baqerzadeh, Iran's Head of the Foundation for the Remembrance of the Holy Defense, exposed the Israeli motive for protecting the identity of its top commanders.

"High-ranking Israeli government officials are seeking to portray their military commanders as the sole guilty party in its crimes," Brig. Gen. Baqerzadeh said Tuesday.

Israeli authorities have issued an order banning the publication of the full name and photographs of the field commanders of the Gaza operation, the Haaretz reported Saturday.

The decision was made following the publication of reports that a lawsuit had been filed with a Dutch court against one of the Israeli brigade commanders after his identity was revealed by the media.

The ban applies to the full name and photographs of officers from the rank of battalion commander down. The order also prohibits tying particular battlefield commanders to the destruction of particular areas in the coastal sliver.

The Iranian commander warned about the futility of such policies, adding that under international law those who commit war crimes and those who issue the order for such crimes would be prosecuted with respect to the extent of their involvement.

Brig. Gen. Baqerzadeh went on to describe Israeli President Shimon Perez, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi as the main culprits of the recent war crimes in the Palestinian territory.

Tel Aviv launched Operation Cast Lead on December 27 to put an end to rocket attacks against southern Israeli towns. At least 1,330 Palestinians died during the offensive, while some 5,450 others are reported wounded.

With the heavy death toll from the 23-day Israeli assault, international pressure has been mounting on Tel Aviv for a full-scale inquiry into war tactics employed in the Israeli operation.

The International Criminal Court, a treaty-based court located in The Hague, has come into being in 2002 to take legal action against war crimes committed on or after that date.

However, countries like the United States and Israel have so far refused to sign the treaty which created the court and therefore do not permit The Hague to have jurisdiction over their citizens.

While Israel cannot be tried in the International Court of Justice, any country that is a signatory to the Geneva Convention can try to prosecute individuals who took part in the Gaza operation as culpable of war crimes.

On Sunday, the cabinet of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad introduced a bill, comprising of methods to track down and prosecute individuals accused of committing or issuing the order for war crimes.

Under the newly-introduced bill individuals charged with committing or ordering such crimes would be sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison by an Iranian court or would face execution.

Meanwhile, critics remain skeptical as to whether any official inquiry into Israeli crimes will take place, as Tel Aviv has previously blocked similar attempts with Washington's support.

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