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Last month, a case began to be heard in the Hague - in a Dutch court, not an international court - against the former head of the Israeli military and now a prime-ministerial hopeful, Benjamin (Benny) Gantz, along with the former commander of the air force, Amir Eshel.

Where/how can I follow the progression of this case - as a non-Dutch-speaker?

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Update:

In January of 2020 a court in The Hague ruled that it could not hear the case because the two acted as agents of the Israeli state. According to Dagblad van het Noorden (in Dutch):

De Israëlische voormalige chef-staf en huidig politicus Benny Gantz en oud-luchtmachtgeneraal Amir Eshel worden niet in Nederland vervolgd wegens oorlogsmisdrijven. De rechtbank in Den Haag zegt niet bevoegd te zijn een zaak tegen de twee in behandeling te nemen. Volgens de rechtbank genieten de twee onschendbaarheid omdat ze namens de Israëlische staat handelden.

Translated by me:

The Israeli former chief of staf turned politician Benny Gantz and ex-air force general Amir Eshel will not be prosecuted in the Netherlands for war crimes. The court in the Hague ruled that it not competent to handle the case against the pair. According to the court, the two enjoy immunity because they acted on behalf of the Israeli state.

The court's opinion can be read in full here (in Dutch). The ruling is also listed on rechtspraak.nl but that seems to be a shorter version.


For now, media reports. Even in Dutch, I can't find much that isn't reported in international media as well. From Haaretz:

After a full day of deliberations, from 9:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M., the judges announced that their next open hearing on the case will be in January 2020. They will deliver their ruling as to whether the Dutch court has jurisdiction to hear a civil suit over the killing, on January 20, 2014, of Muftia Ziada, 70, born in the village of Faluja and a refugee living in the Bureij refugee camp, her sons Jamil, Omar and Yousif, her grandson Shaban and her daughter-in-law Bayan.

The reason why this case might be heard in Dutch courts (in Dutch, from de Volkskrant):

Volgens het beginsel van de universele jurisdictie zijn oorlogsmisdaden vervolgbaar in Nederland als de slachtoffers van die misdaden Nederlands burger zijn en elders geen toegang hebben tot de rechtsgang. Volgens Liesbeth Zegveld, advocate van Ziada, is dat het geval. Palestijnen worden gediscrimineerd in Israël en kunnen formeel wel rechtszaken aanspannen, maar in de praktijk lukt dit steevast niet.

Translated by me:

According to the principle of universal juridiction, war crimes can be prosecuted in the Netherlands if the victims of those crimes are Dutch citizens and have no access to justice elsewhere. According to Liesbeth Zegveld, Ziada's lawyer, that is the case. Palestinians are discriminated against in Israel and while formally they can bring legal proceedings, in practice this regularly does not succeed.

If the case is heard in a Dutch court then the ruling will be published on uitspraken.rechtspraak.nl in Dutch. Translating the page using third-party software will probably give a reasonable translation and it's very likely that it will be reported in English by international media outlets. Given that the subject of the case is an Israeli general turned politician, it's certain that the case will be reported in full by Israeli media.

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  • How will I be able to find the case there? Just a trivial search by "Ziada"?
    – einpoklum
    Oct 5 '19 at 15:05
  • @einpoklum that or the name of the defendant. And if you can't find it (and it's reported the case has been taken on, which isn't clear yet) then just ask here and someone will find it. Based on the Haaretz report, I think there will be some sort of ruling, even if it's just to rule that it's not in their jurisdiction.
    – JJJ
    Oct 5 '19 at 15:09

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