Norway drops Israel war crimes lawsuit

Norway drops Israel war crimes lawsuit

Prosecutors have dismissed a complaint filed by a group of Norwegian lawyers accusing Israeli leaders of war crimes over its incursion into Gaza last winter. Chief prosecutor Siri Frigaard said Friday she is dismissing the complaint, which was lodged on April 22, because "there is no good reason" for Norwegian authorities to investigate further, Jerusalem Post reported.

The lawyers filed the motion under Norway's universal jurisdiction law.

Frigaard said Norway "must show great care" when deciding whether to investigate alleged war crimes committed by individuals with no connection to Norway. A 2008 law allows foreigners to face charges in Norway for war crimes committed anywhere in the world.

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and opposition leader Tzipi Livni were among the 10 Israelis named in the complaint.

The case was dropped although Norway chose not to vote against, but rather to abstain from the vote on the Goldstone Report in the UN General Assembly.

The report alleges that Israel may have committed war crimes during Operation Cast Lead, the official name of the Gaza campaign.

The report was commissioned by the United Nations Human Rights Council and Israel refused to cooperate with jurist Richard Goldstone and his team throughout their investigation, claiming the mandate of the Goldstone Commission was biased against Israel prima facie and therefore any report it would publish would necessarily be morally tainted.

The Palestinians have been trying to exploit the report as leverage against Israel in several international spheres.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak escaped war crime allegations several weeks ago, when a British court decided to drop a lawsuit against him, citing his official position in the Israeli government as the reason.

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