[News] Why is the EU funding Israeli torturers?
news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jun 28 10:32:04 EDT 2017
Why is the EU funding Israeli torturers?
Ali Abunimah <https://electronicintifada.net/people/ali-abunimah> - 27
The European Union is illegally funding Israeli torturers and must stop,
a group of prominent international legal experts has concluded.
that the LAW-TRAIN program violates EU regulations and international law
because one of the participants, Israel’s public security ministry, “is
responsible for or complicit in torture, other crimes against humanity
and war crimes.”
LAW-TRAIN began in May 2015 with the ostensible aim of “harmonizing and
sharing interrogation techniques between the countries involved in order
to face the new challenges in transnational criminality.”
It is funded through an EU research program called Horizon 2020
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/horizon-2020>, which has also
channeled millions of dollars to Israel’s arms industry
Extensive use of torture
LAW-TRAIN involves <http://www.law-train.eu/partners/> Israel’s Bar-Ilan
the Israeli public security ministry
Belgium’s Catholic University of Leuven, the Belgian justice ministry,
Spain’s Civil Guard paramilitary police and the Romanian police. Its
advisory board includes Cornelia Geldermans, a prosecutor in the
Portugal was originally involved, but pulled out last year
in the face of mounting public opposition to Israel’s role in the EU
LAW-TRAIN is scheduled to run until April 2018 and half of its nearly $6
million budget will go to the Israeli participants.
“The use of torture by Israeli interrogators has been extensively
documented in the international and Israeli press and confirmed by
international investigators and by Israeli interrogators themselves,”
Michel Waelbroeck, the author of the legal opinion and a member of the
Institute of International Law, stated. “In June 2016, the UN Committee
against Torture denounced Israel’s use of torture and its illegal,
abusive techniques during interrogations by its police and prison staff.”
The opinion is endorsed by 25 international legal experts and jurists,
including former UN human rights investigators Richard Falk
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/richard-falk> and John Dugard
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/john-dugard>, and Laurens Jan
Brinkhorst, a former Dutch deputy prime minister and former director
general at the European Commission.
Israel has a well-documented record of torture, including against
and has systematically failed to investigate
complaints of abuse.
In February, hundreds of Belgian academics and artists
urged their government to end its support for LAW-TRAIN, and questions
have been raised about the project in the European Parliament.
Human rights organizations from Palestine, Belgium and Spain have also
written to EU officials
expressing concern about the support for Israeli entities engaged in
As opposition to LAW-TRAIN grew, the European Commission, the EU’s
executive bureaucracy, conducted an evaluation
by an “independent expert panel” that concluded the program had “Good to
excellent compliance” with EU laws, including the European Charter of
But the legal experts say that the review ignored key EU regulations
that ban funding to individuals or organizations that engage in “grave
professional misconduct” such as torture.
The legal experts conclude that because Israel’s public security
ministry is “guilty of grave and continuing breaches” of European and
international prohibitions on torture, the EU funding is illegal.
But far from taking action to hold Israel accountable for torture,
Carlos Moedas, the EU’s head of research, recently visited Israel
to celebrate its involvement in Horizon 2020.
Protest in France
While top EU officials tighten their embrace
of Israel’s regime of occupation, apartheid and settler-colonialism over
Palestinians, European citizens are continuing to urge an end to such
Activists from BDS France held this protest
outside the pavilion of the Israeli arms maker Elbit Systems
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/elbit> at the Paris Air Show on
The protesters can be seen in the video staging a “die-in” and holding a
banner denouncing Israel for testing its weapons on Palestinians
The protesters called for an arms embargo, an end to military
cooperation with Israel and support for the boycott, divestment and
Elbit is a major manufacturer of drones that Israel has used to kill
It was contracted by the Obama administration
to provide surveillance technology along the US-Mexico border
Elbit has also been a big recipient of European Union funds.
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