Building on its acclaimed legal strategy of utilizing courtroom proceedings to stop the flow of international funding to terrorist organizations, the attorneys at the Tel-Aviv based Shurat HaDin Law Center are again breaking new ground – this time, to protect and defend Israeli soldiers.
The Law Center is actively engaged in providing an innovative strategy of legal safeguards for officers and troops who risk their lives in combat only to face a second threat of criminal prosecution on false allegations of war crimes when the fighting concludes. This dangerous new threat of war crime complaints and prosecutions being leveled by the Palestinians against the IDF as it undertakes military operations in the asymmetrical battlefield created by Israel’s terrorist enemies — such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah, which themselves blatantly flout international law — requires a vigilant response in order to protect our soldiers physically, and to head off and counter legal actions in the International Criminal Court.
The 2019 Law & War Conference, which addresses the issue of the shortcomings of the international laws of warfare on the modern battlefield, coupled with The Activist Lawyer’s Training Seminar, will allow attorneys and activists to hone their skills in a legal field where their expertise and talent can provide the highest level of service to Israel and the world Jewish community.
“Our soldiers, who are imbued with the highest ethical behavior from their first day of basic training, are now threatened with false war crime prosecutions in international tribunals. IDF troops who follow the law are required to safeguard civilian lives and constantly wind up endangering themselves, because our enemies do not care are about the rules of combat and cynically exploit it as our weakness,” says Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, president of Shurat HaDin.
“Just as it’s their responsibility to protect Israeli civilians, it’s our responsibility, our duty and our honor to safeguard them. The conference and seminar will provide tremendous tools and a framework for everyone to join this struggle.”
The back-to-back seminar and conference offer a unique forum for interdisciplinary learning and networking among attorneys, law enforcement professionals, legal scholars, activists, ethicists, and members of the military and intelligence communities.
The Training Seminar provides up to 24 CLE credits and draws attorneys and activists, Jewish and non-Jewish, from around the world to learn best practices for prosecution and defense.
In addition to the focus on the protection of soldiers from war crime prosecutions, other topics will include legally combating terrorism, fighting hate on social media, advocacy for Israel, money laundering and fighting the escalating BDS movement. Featured speakers will include Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz. “No country faced with threats comparable to those faced by Israel has ever had a better record of human rights compliance with the rule of law,“ he notes. “This conference is about threading that needle – adjudicating a response to both legal and extra-legal threats while protecting Israeli lives.”
The Law & War Conference is included as part of the Seminar, but non-lawyers and non-activists may attend it independently. The ongoing objective of the annual conference is to bring together leading international legal scholars, policy makers, military leaders, and counter-terrorism experts in order to commence an international discussion and working group that will attempt to develop a contemporary and relevant warfare doctrine that addresses the modern asymmetrical battlefield, with the goal of protecting our soldiers – physically, and from war crimes complaints.
Topics will include rules of engagement, conduct of state and non-state actors, use of cyberspace and social media, terror financing and issues related to the International Criminal Court.
“Israel has famously become an incubator of high-tech expertise due to its unique ecosystem,” notes former US senator Joseph Lieberman, an honorary chairman of the conference. “But it’s also an incubator in topics of modern warfare. If you want to understand wars that are fought in international courtrooms, in cyberspace and in networks of money launderers, arms dealers and drug traffickers, then you’d do well to study in Israel. Their military, intelligence and legal experts are the best teachers.”
The Activist Lawyer’s Training Seminar will be held June 24-30; the dates for the Law & War Conference are June 25-26.