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UN Official: Denmark Will Act Against ex-Israeli Shin Bet Director Carmi Gillon

by Jonathan Dale Rapoport Monday, Jul. 23, 2001 at 12:47 PM
jrapoport@hotmail.com Contributing Freelance Journalist, IMC Israel

In the sharpest warning yet that ex-Shin Bet director Carmi Gillon may be Pinocheted, the ex-assistant director of The UN Committee Against Torture has stated that he believes Denmark should and will take action against Gillon, the new Israeli ambassador to Denmark. The UN Committee’s position that The UN Convention on Torture supercedes the diplomatic immunity provisions of The Vienna Convention, has been echoed by the director of The Danish Centre for Human Rights. Gillon was forced to resign as director of The Shin Bet due to the Shin Bet’s negligence in protecting asassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

errorPublication Name: The Copenhagen Post
Publication Location: Copenhagen, The Kingdom of Denmark
Article Title: Prosecution of new Ambassador?
Journalist(s): Howard R. Knowles and Rebecca K. Engmann
Journalist(s) Reporting From: Copenhagen, The Kingdom Denmark
Story Filed: 11 July 2001
Reproduction rights granted to Jonathan Dale Rapoport for non-commercial use by The Copenhagen Post.

-------------

In an interview with Jyllands-Posten, Israels next ambassador to this country, Carmi Gillon, has defended the use of torture as a means of self-defence against terrorism.

Is he now liable for prosecution?

Warning that his country may have to re-introduce moderate physical torture in the near future when interrogating suspected Palestinian terrorists, Israeli Ambassador Carmi Gillon has caused massive political controversy before even setting foot in the country.

We banned this form of interrogation in Israel in 1999 because of the peace process. Unfortunately, it looks like we may have to start using it again, said Gillon, whose words carry more weight than usual in the diplomatic world given his former position as head of the Israel Security Service, Shin Bet.

He was immediately attacked by the Danish Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (RCT) in Copenhagen, who challenged the government to withhold its official recognition of the new Ambassador.

Israel is sending the wrong signal with its choice of Gillon, says RTC spokesman Tue Magnusson. His statements are not only quite shocking, but also in direct contravention of UN convention. If Denmark really wants to promote peace in the Middle East, then the governments acceptance of this man as Ambassador isnt sending the correct signal.

However, former Minister of Transport and leading Israel lobbyist, Arne Melchior, defended the possible reintroduction of torture - or moderate physical pressure - by the Israeli security forces.

Coercion can, in certain circumstances, be necessary, says Melchior. If I was an officer who had arrested two terrorists suspected of planning a terrorist action the next day, then I wouldnt have anything against physically forcing information out of them. I wouldnt go so far as applying extreme torture methods, just enough to make them talk.

With regards to the present rather strained relationship between this country and Israel, Gillon, in more diplomatic tones, promised to do everything in his power to re-establish trust between the two countries. Our relationship could be much better. Israel will always remember the efforts of the Danes during the occupation and I have always felt most welcome during my visits to Denmark, so my first job will be to heal the wounds.

Leaders of humanitarian organisations in this country, however, have called for legal proceedings to be undertaken against Gillon for his activities with Shin Bet, when he assumes his position in Copenhagen at the beginning of August.

He has committed the worst crimes one can commit...I believe that it can be documented, that as chief for the secret police, he is responsible for torture as it is described in the UNs convention against torture, said Professor Bent Srensen, who was assistant director of the UNs Committee Against Torture until 2000.

Srensen believes that, according to the UN convention, this country not only should take action against Gillon, but will do so.

Director of the Danish Centre for Human Rights, attorney Morten Kjrum, agrees.

There is an obligation in the torture convention to prosecute those who have participated in torture. So its clear that, if he has acknowledged torture, hes guilty, said Kjrum.

Both Kjrum and Srensen agree that it will be hard for Gillon to hide behind diplomatic immunity, as the UN Committee holds that the convention applies to all - including diplomats.

Sren Sndergaard of the Unity Party (Enhedslisten) had sharper words for the incoming Ambassador: I believe Carmi Gillon should be arrested and prosecuted, and if prosecuting authorities wont do it, well report him ourselves.
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