Thursday 13 February 2003

Belgium rules Sharon can be tried

Belgium's highest appeals court has ruled that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon could face war crimes charges, but only after he leaves office.

The court was responding to an appeal by a group of 23 Palestinian survivors of a massacre in Lebanon more than 20 years ago, when Mr Sharon was Israel's defence chief.

The killings in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps were carried out by Lebanese Christian militia allied to Israel, which then occupied southern Lebanon.

Israel withdrew its ambassador to Belgium "for consultations" in response to the court ruling.

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