[JURIST] The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs [official website] has warned senior government and military officials that inflammatory statements some made about the recent conflict with Lebanon, such as advocating the bombing of villages that housed Hezbollah rebels, could lead to war crimes prosecutions abroad, the Israeli Army Radio reported Monday. Several Israeli Defense Forces [official website] generals have recently opted not to take trips to Europe because they fear being arrested on war crimes charges. Israeli officials have said that government officials should enjoy immunity from prosecution but there is concern that military leaders, especially retired officials, could be subject to prosecution.
Israel has been widely criticized for its actions during the month-long conflict [JURIST news archive] with Hezbollah guerrillas [BBC backgrounder]. More than 850 Lebanese, mostly civilians, were killed during the conflict. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour [official profile] warned both Israel and Hezbollah in July that those responsible for violence against civilians could be liable for war crimes [JURIST report]. Last month, Amnesty International [advocacy website] accused Israel of deliberately inflicting unnecessary damage [JURIST report] on civilian infrastructure. A few days earlier, the US State Department began investigating [JURIST report] whether Israel used cluster munitions in Lebanon in violation of several US-Israeli agreements. Haaretz has more.