Jewish group wants Ahmedinejad tried in ICC

By Amiram Barkat

Haaretz

Shvat 21, 5766

The European Jewish Congress (EJC) is set to file a complaint in the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for incitement to genocide, EJC president Pierre Besnainou told Haaretz.

Besnainou, who was in Israel last week, said the complaint was an independent initiative of the EJC, but noted that Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni had been informed of the intention to file the complaint. The initiative is expected to pass by a large majority in the general assembly of the EJC, which convenes Sunday in Vienna.

The EJC is also promoting a resolution in the European Parliament in Strasbourg to declare Ahmadinejad persona non grata in the 25 European Union member-states. At the same time, the EJC also has the intention of signing prominent politicians, business people and intellectuals on a petition, to be published in European newspapers calling on the governments of Europe to prevent Ahmadinejad from visiting their countries.

Besnainou, a French businessman who was elected president of the EJC last June, told Haaretz, "Ahmadinejad must not set foot on the Continent where he claims the Holocaust did not take place", adding "I cannot imagine that the members of the EU parliament will refuse to adopt this resolution." Besnainou criticized the actions of the EU governments so far on the matter, arguing that they should have recalled their ambassadors for consultations but chose not to do so for "political reasons."

Experts in international law told Haaretz that a criminal complaint filed against Ahmadinejad had little chance of success in the ICC since Iran was not a signatory to its charter and therefore the court ostensibly does not have jurisdiction to try Ahmadinejad. However, the prominent French attorney Francis Piner, who is coordinating the case, told Haaretz "the significance of the fact that Iran is not a signatory to the court's charter is only that this country will not actively cooperate with it. It does not have to prevent the filing of the complaint, since otherwise there would have been no point in establishing such a court."