The Hague: A Netherlands appeals court is set to rule on Tuesday on a case alleging war crimes against Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz. Gantz is blamed by a Dutch Palestinian for the loss of his six relatives in the Israeli airstrike in Gaza in 2014.
The petitioner Ismail Ziada had filed the civil case against Gantz and a former senior military official in Israel. Ziada has sought unspecified damages under Dutch universal jurisdiction rules. Universal jurisdiction allows countries to prosecute serious offences such as war crimes no matter where they were committed.
In January 2020, a lower Dutch court rejected Ziada's case, ruling that the principles of universal jurisdiction could be applied for individual criminal cases but not in civil cases. But he went forward with an appeal arguing that universal jurisdiction should be applied in civil cases too if the alleged conduct involved severe violations of international humanitarian law. He pleaded with the appeals court to reverse the previous ruling.
Gaza is now controlled by the Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement, who were regarded as terrorists by the West. Israel claims that Hamas puts civilians to harm by deploying fighters and weaponry inside Gaza's densely populated areas.
Meanwhile, Human rights groups accused both the parties of war crimes, and the International Criminal Court is currently investigating the war crimes committed on Palestine territory since June 2014 by both Israeli forces and Palestinian armed sects.