For Immediate Release: December 24th, 2009

99 Israeli and International Feminist Organizations to the British
Government: Enable Prosecution of Israeli War Criminals


Yoana Gonen, CWP International Relations Coordinator, Tel: +972-50-5809656
Eilat Maoz, CWP General Coordinator, Tel: +972-50-8575729

    99 feminist peace organizations, from 25 countries, among them 20
Israeli and Palestinian organizations, sent a letter this morning
(Tuesday, December 22, 2009) to the British Prime Minister, Gordon
Brown, and to the British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, demanding
that they not restrict the principle of universal jurisdiction in the
UK.  Universal Jurisdiction enables national courts to prosecute
foreign war criminals – among them Ehud Olmet, Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni
and other high ranking Israeli officials – who are responsible for the
war in Gaza last year.

    The letter was initiated by the Coalition of Women for Peace
(CWP), an Israeli feminist organization that was founded in 2000 and
is a leading voice in the Israeli anti-occupation movement. The letter
was sent following Gordon and Miliband's recent declarations that they
will restrict universal jurisdiction in the UK – following an arrest
warrant issued last week by a London court against Tzipi Livni,
Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs during the war in Gaza.

    The signatories claim that the Goldstone Report raises serious
suspicions regarding systematic and intentional execution of war
crimes during the war in Gaza (Opearting Cast Lead). The letter asks
Brown and Miliband to "defend and maintain the important principle of
universal jurisdiction, despite political pressures by war criminals
and their allies."

    The organizations further claim that restricting universal
jurisdiction sets a dangerous precedent in the prosecution of war
criminals from around the world. They stated: "As feminist
organizations, we regard this as an act of collaboration with violence
against women, since women and girls are particularly susceptible to
poverty, displacement and marginalization in times of war, and are
more frequently subjected to domestic violence, sexual abuse and

    Eilat Maoz, CWP General Coordinator, said: "We reach out to the
international community aiming to protect the people of our region,
Palestinians and Israelis alike, from war criminals that still walk
freely among us. As Israelis, we have an important role in supporting
the international pressure on Israel. The vast response to our call
demonstrates that the international community has lost its patience to
the Israeli occupation."

    Lana Khaskia, CWP General Coordinator, said: "We all witness the
growing international public pressure, which influences governments
around the world to act. This was the case in the recent decision to
label settlement produce in the UK, and in recent successes of the
global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. We see ourselves as
a part of this international movement, which calls upon Israel to end
the occupation at once."

The letter with the full list of signatories is attached.

December 22, 2009
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Foreign Secretary David Miliband

Re: Maintain Universal Jurisdiction and Enable the Prosecution of War

    We, international feminist peace and human rights organizations,
are writing to you following recent reports regarding your
government's intention to undermine the principle of universal
jurisdiction, a decision that will diminish the power of the
international community to intervene in situations of severe human
rights violations and crimes against humanity.

    Universal jurisdiction is an essential legal device, symbolizing
the responsibility of the global community to prevent crimes against
humanity wherever they occur, to bring justice to the victims and to
protect the citizens of the world from tyranny, persecution and
institutionalized violence. The United Kingdom played an instrumental
role in establishing these principles in the aftermath of the Second
World War, and should commit itself to protecting and maintaining
them. The British government's intent to undermine universal
jurisdiction sets a dangerous precedent in defending criminal
government officials rather than the victims of their crimes.

    As feminist organizations, we regard your attempt to undermine
universal jurisdiction as an act of collaboration with violence
against women. Socially disadvantaged groups, such as women and ethnic
minorities, are more severely affected in situations of war and
conflict. Women and girls are particularly susceptible to poverty,
displacement and marginalization in times of war, and are more
frequently subjected to domestic violence, sexual abuse and rape.

    As Palestinian, Israeli and international women, we call on the
international community to pressure Israel to follow the
recommendations of the Goldstone Report. Today, one year after the
Israeli assault on Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, Israel has yet to
conduct a thorough, independent and reliable investigation of the war
crimes it has committed. The international community is obligated to
act in order to ensure that Israel will comply with international
human rights and humanitarian law. Issuing arrest warrants against
Israeli officials responsible for war crimes against the Palestinian
people, among them Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livni, is an
important means to this end.

    The right of national courts to prosecute foreign war criminals
for atrocities committed abroad is a central enforcement mechanism in
international law. Undermining their ability to do so will be a
devastating blow to international human rights and will hinder
attempts to bring just peace to the Middle East and to other conflict
regions around the world.

    We urge you to maintain and secure the important principle of
universal jurisdiction, despite political pressures by war criminals
and their allies.

    99 Signatories:


Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) - Israel,

Addameer - Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association - Ramallah, Palestine,

AlDeer Association, Palestinian Women of Wadi Ara - Israel

Al-Haq - Ramallah, Palestine,

Assiwar - Arab Feminist Movement in Support of Victims of Sexual Abuse - Israel,

BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within - Israel

International Women's Peace Service (IWPS) - Palestine,

Movement of Democratic Women in Israel (TANDI) - Israel,

New Profile - Israel,

Palestinian Center for Peace and Democracy - Ramallah, Palestine

Palestinian Union of Progressive Women, Balad (National Democratic
Assembly) - Israel

Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development – Ramallah, Palestine

Social TV - Israel

The Israeli Committee for a Middle East Free of Atomic, Biological and
Chemical Weapons - Israel

The Raging Grannies - Israel

Women in Black - Israel
Women in Black of Tel Aviv - Israel

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Israel
Section - Israel

Yesh Gvul - Israeli Support Group for Refuseniks of the Occupation and
War Crimes - Israel

Zochrot ("Remembering") - Israel


Ain o Salish kendra (ASK) - Bangladesh

Association pour la Reconnaissance des Droits et Libertés ŕ la Femme
Musulmane (ARDLFM) - France

Associazione federativa femminista internazionale - Casa
internazionale delle donne - Rome, Italy

Autonomous Women's Center - Belgrade, Serbia

Canadian Voice of Women for Peace - Toronto, Canada

Casa Baltimore/Limay, Baltimore Committee - Maryland, USA

CODEPINK Women for Peace - USA
CODEPINK Greater Boston - Massachusetts, USA

Collectif des féministes pour l'égalité (CFPE) - France

Collectif Judéo Arabe et Citoyen pour la Paix - Strasbourg, France

Djazairouna - des Familles Victimes du Terrorisme Islamiste - Alegeria

European Feminist Initiative (IFE-EFI) - International Network

Fairchance Consultancy - UK

French Jewish Union for Peace (UJFP) - France

Global Sisterhood Network - International Network

Global Women's Strike - International Network
Global Women's Strike - Ireland
Global Women's Strike - USA

Gramya Resource Center for Women - Hyderabad, India

Institute for Feminism and Religion - Dublin, Ireland

International Civilian Missions to Palestine (CCIPP) - France

International Prostitutes Collective - International Network

International Wages Due Lesbians - International Network LesbianBi/IWDL.htm

International Wages for Housework Campaign - International Network

Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East - Austria

Jewish Voice for Peace - USA

Jüdische Stimme für Gerechten Frieden in Nahost (Jewish Voice for a
Just Peace in the Middle East - EJJP) - Germany

l'Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS) Paris Centre - Paris, France

Legal Action for Women - UK and USA LAW/womenagainstlaw.htm

Marea - Feminist Quarterly - Italy

Mersinia Art Center - Ayia Napa, Cyprus

MRAP - Movement Against Racism and for Friendship among Peoples - Paris, France

News from Nowhere Co-operative - Liverpool, UK

Nijera Kori ("We Do It Ourselves") - Bangladesh

Office of the Americas, Los Angeles, California - USA

Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) - UK

Rural Women's Movement (RWM) in the province of KwaZulu Natal - South Africa

Saheli Women's Resource Centre - New Delhi, India

Scottish Women Against Pornography - Scotland, UK

Secularism Is A Women's Issue (SIAWI) - International network

Sheffield Palestine Women's Scholarship Fund - Sheffield, UK

Senza Paura - Restiamo Umani - Genova, Italy

Single Mothers Self Defence - UK

South Asians for Human Rights - Colombo, Sri Lanka

Southall Black Sisters - UK

The Kolo: Women's Cross Cultural Collaboration - Olympia, Washington, USA

The Network Against Honour-Related Violence - Sweden

Women Against Fundamentalism (WAF) - UK

Women for Justice - Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

Women for Palestine - Australia

Women for Peace - Switzerland

Women in Black of Caen - France
Women in Black of Lyon - France
Women in Black (Les femmes en noir) of Paris - France
Women in Black of Strasbourg - France

Women in Black - Italy
Women in Black of Rome - Italy
Women in Black of Turin - Italy
Women in Black of Venice - Italy

Women in Black of Belgrade - Serbia

Women in Black of Mallorca - Spain

Women in Black (Vrouwen in het zwart) of Maastricht - The Netherlands

Women in Black of London - UK
Women in Black of Sheffield - UK

Bay Area Women in Black - California, USA
Women in Black of Amherst - Massachusetts, USA
Women in Black of Union Square, New York City - New York, USA
Women in Black of Seattle - Washington, USA

Women in Solidarity with Palestine (WSP) - Toronto, Canada

Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) - International Network

Women of Colour in the Global Women's Strike - Guyana

Women of Colour in the Global Women's Strike – USA

Women Solidarity for an Independent and Unified Iraq - UK

Women Will Association (WWA) - Baghdad, Iraq

Women's Commission of the Socialist Party -  USA

Women's Initiative for Citizenship and Universal Rights (WICUR) - Paris, France

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) -
International Network

Women's Welfare Center - Pune, India

World March of Women, International Secretariat - International Network