March 08, 2006

War criminal lawyer?

This report appeared in yesterday's Guardian. Apparently the UK's Foreign Office has appointed an adviser to the Israeli government to head a legal team at the FO that advises on such issues as Guantanamo Bay and the legitimacy of wars and walls.
The British Foreign Office has appointed a controversial Israeli government adviser to one of its most sensitive posts as head of the legal department.

Advice from Daniel Bethlehem QC in 2002 to the then Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, led Israel to block a UN inquiry into the battle of Jenin. The Israeli refusal to cooperate was widely condemned at the time by various human rights organisations.

Mr Bethlehem, who was Israel's external legal adviser, also took the lead for the Israeli government at the International court of justice in The Hague in 2004 to defend the barrier being built along the West Bank. Israel lost the case.
It gets worse. See this:
He will have to advise Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, on a host of issues ranging from Guantánamo Bay to the legality of any pre-emptive strike against Iran.
And this:
A pointer to Mr Bethlehem's view on attacking Iran can be found in his evidence last year to the Commons foreign affairs committee. Although an Israeli pre-emptive strike on an Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak in 1981 was judged to be illegal, a good case could have been made for it both then and now, he said.

Thanks to AJP in the comments.

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