Archive for January 26th, 2009

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Will Israel be tried in the Hague?

January 26, 2009

Charges filed by international attorneys
against 15 Israeli officials

23.01.09
Source

Bethlehem / PNN – Palestinian and international efforts continue to institute legal proceedings for the prosecution of Israeli officials in the commission of war crimes.

Although Israeli forces are involved in thousands of cases, local experts such as the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights believe that the recent major attacks on the Gaza Strip will successfully prosecuted.

“They were well-documented, televised and the world was paying attention,” a member of the Gaza City team commented.

After the very public detection of large-scale atrocities which included the use of white phosphorus bombs in enclosed civilian areas and the liquidation of children there is little defense.

Fifteen specific names are now pending for prosecution in The Hague’s war crimes tribunal.

Those listed for prosecution include Israeli political and military officials, namely Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak.

Israelis are being warned internally against leaving its boundaries due to fears of arrest.

French lawyer Gilles Dovers is handling the complaint in Paris calling for the “open investigation into war crimes” committed by Israeli forces during three weeks in Gaza.

Dovers said today that 500 complaints are being submitted by Arab, European and Latin American officials. Bolivia is preparing its own case, as is Venezuela.

Argentine international prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, is deciding whether to go ahead with an investigation.

The French lawyer said there is some fear of interference from the United Nations Security Council under pressure from the United States to stop the proceedings and prevent the achievement of access to trial. The founding texts of the International Criminal Court empower the Security Council to suspend its work.

Today’s invitation to try at least 15 Israeli officials is being delivered by 30 international lawyers of several nationalities.

In parallel, the intention of a group of French lawyers to file a complaint on behalf of French citizens of Palestinian origin to the French courts against Israeli officials is gaining attention in the cities of Paris and eastern France.

Coordination with other lawyers in Belgium and Spain is underway as similar complaints against the Israeli officials are being made in Brussels and Madrid. Belgium is among the countries who issued charges against Ariel Sharon in the past.

Moroccan lawyers also disclosed yesterday practical steps toward filing a lawsuit against “the perpetrators of war crimes” in Gaza. Six lawyers are working with the Minister of Justice of Morocco.

As reported by PNN throughout the week, in Tel Aviv Israeli activists published 15 names:

Ehud Barak, Amir Peretz, Binyamin Ben Eliezer, Avi Dichter, Carmi Gilon, Dan Halutz, Doron Almog, Ehud Olmert, Eliezer Shkedy, Gabi Ashkenazi, Giora Eiland, Matan Vilani, Moshe Bogi Yaalon, Shaul Mofaz and Tzipi Livni,

along with reasons they are listed and photos on:

http://www.wanted.org.il

included with the note: “Anyone who has information about the suspect when he is outside of the Israeli borders, report immediately to…” and gives contact information for The Hague.

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California – 1 week away from IOUs

January 26, 2009


California One Week Away from Issuing IOUs…

Which May Not Be Accepted by Many Banks

January 26th, 2009
Source

The controller says California is down to Plan D on its checklist of paying bills. Its cash reserves are piddling; the special funds it borrows from are tapped out, and no one in the private sector is going to lend it any cash at a reasonable interest rate.

That leaves what in state government circles are called “payment deferrals” and what in real life is called “stiffing your creditors.”

In this case the creditors include income taxpayers expecting refunds, college students waiting on state aid, counties that operate public assistance programs, and companies that sell goods and services to state agencies.

Chiang has said he won’t write $3.7 billion worth of checks for those and other state programs if legislators and the governor haven’t reached a deal by next Sunday to close the budget gap.

The controller said he must conserve what little cash the state has to be able to make constitutionally required payments to schools and interest payments to state bondholders.

“This is a very painful decision,” Chiang said. “It pains me to pull this trigger, but it is an action that is critically necessary.”

The state’s cash situation is somewhat analogous to your family emptying its checking account, drawing down the savings account to cover checks, and only having enough left to pay either the mortgage or the utility bill.

Of course you could then file for bankruptcy protection. Under federal law, the state can’t do that, but it can do something you can’t: Issue IOUs.

Known formally as “registered warrants,” the state’s IOUs are just that. Someone – a vendor, a landlord, the water company – who is owed money by a California government agency gets a piece of paper that says the state owes them money, and will pay them the amount plus interest at some point in the future.

The only time since the Great Depression that the state has issued IOUs was in 1992, and it wasn’t a pretty sight. About 1.6 million of them, worth a total of $3.8 billion, were issued during a two-month budget tiff between then-Gov. Pete Wilson and legislators.

Instead of paychecks, about 100,000 state workers got IOUs, which proved somewhat harder to cash. After the first month, many of the state’s major banks quit accepting the warrants, saying the 5 percent interest they were paid wasn’t worth the arduous processing needed to redeem them.

And after state employees sued, a federal judge ruled that paying workers with IOUs violated federal labor law. The state agreed in 1996 to give the affected workers extra paid vacation to compensate.

If IOUs are issued this year, they won’t go to state workers. They also might not be accepted by many banks.