A Legal Loophole

By Ephron, Dan | Newsweek International, October 5, 2009 | Go to article overview

A Legal Loophole


Ephron, Dan, Newsweek International


Byline: Dan Ephron

As the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo has a record of caution and moderation. For seven years, he has carefully avoided even the appearance of overstepping his jurisdiction, in part to allay American fears that the ICC could become a tool for political score-settling. He's limited himself to uncontroversial targets--international bad guys like Ugandan rebel Joseph Kony and Sudan's thuggish President Omar al-Bashir, whose crimes against humanity have provoked unequivocal condemnation from the global community.

Which is why international-law experts who spoke to NEWSWEEK recently were surprised to hear that the prosecutor is considering a tricky legal maneuver in order to probe whether Israel committed war crimes in Gaza earlier this year. Israel is not a party to the ICC and thus off limits to Moreno-Ocampo (unless a case is referred to him by the United Nations Security Council). But the prosecutor told NEWSWEEK that he's investigating whether a certain Israeli dual national, reserve Lt. Col. David Benjamin, who served as a legal adviser to the Israeli military, might have authorized unlawful operations during the war. Benjamin immigrated to Israel from South Africa 20 years ago and retains his old citizenship. …

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A Legal Loophole
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