In 2017, Ismail Ziada filed a civil suit at the District Court of the Hague against former Israeli military leaders Benny Gantz and Amir Eshel for their role in a 2014 strike—part of the Israeli offensive in Gaza known as Operation Protective Edge—which killed six of Ziada’s family members. In 2020, the court dismissed Ziada’s civil suit, arguing that, as agents of the state, Gantz and Eshel enjoy functional immunity from prosecution, and the court had no jurisdiction over the matter.
Now, the Dutch court hearing his appeal has until Dec. 7 to decide whether the international legal principle of universal jurisdiction will allow him to pursue his case from the Netherlands, an enormous step forward for Palestinians trying to seek justice in Israel, where they’re prohibited from addressing cases or appeals against Israel for war crimes and acts of war. TRNN contributor David Kattenburg talks to Ziada’s lawyer, Liesbeth Zegveld, about this case and what it could mean for those seeking international justice by way of local jurisdictions.
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