Turkish human rights group seeks to prosecute Ehud Barak

Arab-Israel Relations Materials 16 January 2010 12:21 (UTC +04:00)

A Turkish human rights group on Friday petitioned a prosecutor to start legal proceedings against Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak for alleged crimes committed against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

The demand came two days before the Defense Minister is scheduled to visit Turkey, where he is expected to try and mend strained relations following last year's war in Gaza and an Israeli official's humiliation of the Turkish ambassador.

Turkey's Justice Ministry has previously rejected similar appeals against Israeli officials, and authorities haven't acted on the petition authored by the Istanbul-based Mazlum-Der group.

It is not the first call of foreign human rights group to prosecute Israeli officials for military crimes in the Gaza Strip. 

Last month, an arrest warrant was issued in Britain against opposition leader and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni on the basis of her alleged war crimes in last year's Gaza offensive.

Livni took a position of Israeli foreign minister during a military operation in the Gaza Strip. According to Palestinian doctors, about 1,600 Palestinians died.

The UN special commission investigating military crime sin the Gaza Strip headed by Judge Richard Goldstone recognized actions of Israeli army and Palestinian group Hamas as military crimes contradicting the international law. Israel waged war against Hamas. But Israel denies these accusations.