Barcelona Session

1-3 March 2010

Photo credit: David Vilaplana - imagenenaccion.org

On the 1st, 2nd and 3rd March 2010, the first international session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) was hosted and supported by the Barcelona National Support Committee and the Office of the Mayor of Barcelona, under the honorary presidency of Stéphane Hessel, Ambassador of France.

This session’s objective was to consider the complicities and omissions of the European Union and its member states in the ongoing occupation of Palestinian territories by Israel and the perpetuation of the violations of international law committed by Israel, in total impunity. During two days, twenty one experts and witnesses were auditioned by a jury composed of international personalities known for their actions and moral integrity:

  • Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Nobel Peace laureate 1976, Northern Ireland
  • Gisèle Halimi, lawyer, former Ambassador to UNESCO, France
  • Ronald Kasrils, writer and activist, South Africa
  • Michael Mansfield, barrister, President of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, United Kingdom
  • José Antonio Martin Pallin, emeritus judge, Chamber II, Supreme Court, Spain
  • Cynthia McKinney, former member of the US Congress and 2008 presidential candidate, Green Party, USA
  • Alberto San Juan, actor, Spain
  • Aminata Traoré, author and former Minister of Culture of Mali

Testimony heard by the jury related to the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, the closure of the Gaza Strip and operation “Cast Lead”, the illegal settlements and the plundering of natural resources, the annexation of East-Jerusalem, the Wall built in occupied Palestinian territory and the EU-Israel Association Agreement and military cooperation. After its deliberation, the jury issued its conclusions in an international press conference.

Testimony heard by the jury related to the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, the closure of the Gaza Strip and operation “Cast Lead”, the illegal settlements and the plundering of natural resources, the annexation of East-Jerusalem, the Wall built in occupied Palestinian territory and the EU-Israel Association Agreement and military cooperation. After its deliberation, the jury issued its conclusions in an international press conference.

Thanks to a network of National Support Committees, the first session of this International People’s Tribunal was a resounding success both for the impact it had on the audience and the media attention it received. The Tribunal’s conclusions were a significant aspect of its success. These conclusions provide a legally grounded body of arguments, constituting a major tool to be used by those who seek to ensure respect for the rule of international law, and the rights of the Palestinian people.

Besides the organisation of other international sessions of the RToP, the Barcelona session is followed by presentations of its conclusions organised by the National Supports Committees of the RToP. These aim at raising awareness for a large audience, and at questioning different levels of European authorities (national governments and parliaments, European commission, European parliament…) on the conclusions that were reached at the session, and on the recommendations that followed.

 

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