As I explained last November, when it sat in London, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine is billed as "an International People’s Tribunal created by a large group of citizens involved in the promotion of peace and justice in the Middle East."
The first Russell Tribunal was convened in 1966 during the Vietnam War by the distinguished leftwing Nobel Laureate, anti-nuclear campaigner, mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), whose phrase “May this tribunal prevent the crime of silence” has become the watchword of subsequent tribunals.
On its website we're told:
"The Russell Tribunal has no legal status but acts as a court of the people, a Tribunal of conscience, faced with injustices and violations of international law, that are not dealt with by existing international jurisdictions, or that are recognised but continue with complete impunity due to the lack of political will of the international community. Today, and in the same spirit, the Bertrand Russell Foundation supports the setting up of a Russell Tribunal to examine the violations of international law, of which the Palestinians are victims, and that prevent the Palestinian People from exercising its rights to a sovereign State.
This Tribunal has been named the Russell Tribunal on Palestine. It will reaffirm the supremacy of international law as the basis for a solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict. It will identify all the failings in the implementation of this right and will condemn all the parties responsible for these failings, in full view of international public opinion.
It will thus examine the various responsibilities that lead to the continued occupation of the Palestinian Territories by Israel and the non-application of the United Nations resolutions, from Resolution 181 of the 29th of November 1947, on the partition of Palestine, to Resolution ES-10/15 of the 20th of July 2004, that acknowledges the Opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) – of the 9th of July 2004 – on the construction of the Wall by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and requests all the UN Member States to acquit themselves of their legal obligations as defined by the ICJ Opinion. The responsibilities of Israel and also of other states, particularly the United States and the Member States of the European Union, the Arab States and the international organisations concerned (United Nations, the European Union, the Arab League) will be scrutinised.
The Tribunal also aims, through this approach, to contribute to the mobilisation and the involvement of civil society in all the states concerned on the question of Palestine.
The Russell Tribunal on Palestine is composed of eminent people from all states, including Israel, which will be one of the states investigated. The legitimacy of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine does not come from a government or any political party but from the prestige, professional interests and commitment to fundamental rights of the Members that constitute this Tribunal."http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.com/en/
This coming November, this kangaroo court will convene in Cape Town, opened by that inveterate eenemy of Israel Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
It's the third session of the tribunal, and will sit "to determine [whether] the treatment of Palestinian people by Israel meets criteria of the UN convention against the crime of apartheid".
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, that well-known supporter of human rights (you may recall that she's on record as having endorsed the brutal practice of "necklacing" and was sentenced to six years' impisonment, later reduced to a fine, for her alleged involvement in an unsavoury crime) as a star witness.
She , according to a newspaper report, "is expected to testify about the tools the apartheid government used against her, including bannings, detentions and house arrest."
The report continues:
'Two veteran Israeli human rights lawyers, Michael Sfard and Leah Tsemel, will also testify, along with South African international law professor John Dugard, who was until recently the UN's special rapporteur on human rights in Palestine.
Kasrils joins Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire, Spanish Supreme Court Judge Jose Antonio Pallin and globally acclaimed author Alice Walker [of recent flotilla infamy] on the jury.
Kasrils said that the ANC government must follow Cosatu's lead and take "stronger measures" against Israel.
"We've applauded governments in Latin America and one in Africa. Those were the governments that actually decided to sever ties with Israel," said Kasrils.'Read more: http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/2011/07/20/people-s-court-to-put-israel-in-the-dock
And for the London session last November see: