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Arrest Olmert for war crimes, say Egyptian MPs.

Cairo: Outraged by what they described as international double standards, Egyptian members of parliament have demanded the International Criminal Court (ICC) issue an arrest warrant against Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for alleged involvement in war crimes.

"Since the issue is related to killing the innocents, murderers whoever and wherever they may be, must be arrested and put on trial," said Mohsen Radi, an Islamist member of the Egyptian parliament. "Issuing an arrest warrant for Olmert would be fair and dispel questions about world norms of justice," he told Gulf News.

His call was made as the International Criminal Court is seeking to file charges against Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir over alleged implication in genocidal acts in Sudan's western province of Darfur.

Call to support

"I urge all human rights activists and groups as well as everyone interested in the supremacy of the international law to support our call to bring Olmert and all other Israeli killers to justice," added Radi.

Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. Tensions in their relations are not uncommon, however.

Last year, Egyptians were enraged when an Israeli TV documentary showed Israeli troops killing Egyptian prisoners of war in the Egyptian desert of Sinai in the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War. Several Egyptian lawyers and human rights activists have filed suits at local courts demanding the trial of Israeli commanders involved in the alleged cold-blooded killings and compensation. The courts have yet to pass their rulings.

"While seeking an arrest warrant against Al Bashir, the International Criminal Court claims its ultimate aim is to protect human rights. In the same vein, this court should seek the arrest of Olmert whose troops commit constant massacres against the Palestinians," said independent MP Moustafa Bakri.

He saw no obstacle to his demand due to the fact that Israel is not among the 109 signatories to the treaty that established the ICC.

"The ICC bid to indict President Al Bashir is launched though Sudan is not a signatory to this pact. The same treatment should be meted out to Israel. If not, this court and the world community as a whole would be accused of adopting double standards," Bakri, the editor of an opposition weekly, told this paper.

ICC judges are weighing the evidence provided by the court's prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo before deciding whether or not to issue an arrest warrant against Al Bashir.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jul 20, 2008
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