The Russell Tribunal on Palestine has held a meeting in Brussels on 16th of December to prepare for its first session, to be held in Barcelona from 1 to 3 March 2010. In the tradition of the preceding Russell Tribunals, first on Vietnam (launched by Lord Bertrand Russell in 1966) and then on Latin America, this initiative is an authentic peoples’ tribunal aimed at generating public awareness of the serious and recurrent violations of human rights in Palestine.
Unlike the preceding Tribunals, the aim in this case is not to denounce a perpetrator of the violations, since that has already been done, for instance by the International Court of Justice in The Hague in its Advisory Opinion of 9 July 2004, which is endowed with considerable legal force. The aim of this peoples’ tribunal is to question the international complicity enjoyed by the State of Israel, which has been pursuing a policy of war, occupation and colonisation for 60 years in Palestinian territory, notwithstanding unanimous condemnation by the United Nations and a large number of states and the fact that its policy is in flagrant breach of international treaties, particularly the Geneva Conventions concerning the protection of populations occupied by a foreign power.
The Barcelona session will analyse the position of the European Union on Israel. While Europe is the prime contributor of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, it has proved to be incapable of securing respect for the rules of international law by a state occupying territories that have not been granted to it by the United Nations.