“May this Tribunal prevent the crime of silence“…
…declared Lord Bertrand Russell to define the spirit and the objective of the International War Crimes Tribunal constituted in 1966 to investigate crimes committed in Vietnam and judge them according to international law. Initiated by Lord Russell, Nobel Prize of literature in 1950, and supported by eminent intellectuals such as Jean-Paul Sartre, who chaired the Tribunal, Lelio Basso, Guenther Anders, James Baldwin, Simone de Beauvoir, Lazaro Cardenas, Stokely Carmichael, Isaac Deutscher, Gisèle Halimi, Laurent Schwartz…, this Tribunal was named the Russell Tribunal.
The Russell Tribunal has no legal status but acts as a court of the people, a Tribunal of conscience, faced with injustices and violations of international law, that are not dealt with by existing international jurisdictions, or that are recognised but continue with complete impunity due to the lack of political will of the international community. Today, and in the same spirit, the Bertrand Russell Foundation supports the setting up of a Russell Tribunal to examine the violations of international law, of which the Palestinians are victims, and that prevent the Palestinian People from exercising its rights to a sovereign State.
This Tribunal has been named the Russell Tribunal on Palestine. It will reaffirm the supremacy of international law as the basis for a solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict. It will identify all the failings in the implementation of this right and will condemn all the parties responsible for these failings, in full view of international public opinion.
It will thus examine the various responsibilities that lead to the continued occupation of the Palestinian Territories by Israel and the non-application of the United Nations resolutions, from Resolution 181 of the 29th of November 1947, on the partition of Palestine, to Resolution ES-10/15 of the 20th of July 2004, that acknowledges the Opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) – of the 9th of July 2004 – on the construction of the Wall by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and requests all the UN Member States to acquit themselves of their legal obligations as defined by the ICJ Opinion. The responsibilities of Israel and also of other states, particularly the United States and the Member States of the European Union, the Arab States and the international organisations concerned (United Nations, the European Union, the Arab League) will be scrutinised.
The Tribunal also aims, through this approach, to contribute to the mobilisation and the involvement of civil society in all the states concerned on the question of Palestine.
The Russell Tribunal on Palestine is composed of eminent people from all states, including Israel, which will be one of the states investigated. The legitimacy of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine does not come from a government or any political party but from the prestige, professional interests and commitment to fundamental rights of the Members that constitute this Tribunal.