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Rights lawyer outlines Lebanese challenge to US-Israel weapons flights through UK

[JURIST] British anti-war campaigners have unveiled a legal campaign against the British government's involvement in the ongoing Middle East conflict [JURIST news archive], seeking to stop flights carrying weapons sent from the United States to Israel from stopping at British airports. Human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar [Scotsman profile] said that by British authorities were facilitating attacks on civilian targets in Lebanon [JURIST report] and are therefore complicit in war crimes. US flights believed to be carrying bombs and other hazardous materials have stopped at Britain's Prestwick Airport and RAF Mildenhall airport amid protests at each airport.

Anwar said six different legal challenges were being considered, all "advanced in the name of Lebanese citizens who have family that have been injured, killed or are missing as a result of the Israeli operations." The lawsuits will argue that by allowing the flights the British government violated the European Convention on Human Rights [text, PDF], the Geneva Conventions [ICRC materials] and the International Criminal Court Act 2001 [text]. IC Liverpool has more.

Reports surfaced last week that the US had violated British air transport safety regulations [JURIST report] in routing "smart bombs" to Israel through the UK, prompting comments from UK Foreign Minister Margaret Beckett [official profile] that a formal complaint would be made to the US if it was confirmed that rules were broken. Beckett's warning was followed by an apology from President Bush [JURIST report] for the shipment problems, though a US Defense Department spokesman insisted that all protocols had been properly followed. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said Thursday that he didn't object to US use of British airports to transport arms to Israel, so long as the flights adhere to aviation rules. Reuters has more.

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