Noam Schalit to French court: Probe Gilad's kidnappers

French law says criminals can be prosecuted anywhere in world for felonies against citizens; soldier's father says he can't do same in Israel.

June 6, 2011 11:10
2 minute read.
Noam Schalit with Spanish and French FMs

Noam Schalit with Spanish, French FMs 311. (photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)


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For the first time since Gilad Schalit was kidnapped in June 2006, his father, Noam Schalit, has called on French courts to bring about justice.

Schalit, a dual French/Israeli citizen, has appealed to the Paris District Court to investigate the criminal acts and kidnappers of his son in accordance with a French law that says a criminal can be prosecuted anywhere in the world for committing a felony against a French citizen.

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Noam said that he was making the appeal in France because the same legal stipulations to do not apply in Israel.

Gilad's father said he was taking the case to French court "after my son's kidnappers ignored during the last [five] years the international call to set him free on humanitarian grounds.

"This includes the call from a unanimous European Parliament, both houses of the US Congress, the German Bundestag, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, US President Barak Obama, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel," Noam added.

Schalit's appeal to the Parisian court came as he has stepped up criticism of the Netanyahu government in the past few months for not acting enough to free his son.

Gilad's father has said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and members of his bureau are trying to hide their inability to return Gilad by repeatedly scaring [the public] about terror attacks, Israel Radio reported in April.

In May, he criticized the government for transferring tax funds to the Palestinian Authority, despite their reconciliation deal with Hamas, the organization responsible for holding his son.

From France, Sartkozy's wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy spoke out recently on behalf of Gilad Schalit, saying in a letter to Sara Netanyahu that France was “doing everything in order to end Gilad’s suffering, through close cooperation with the Israeli authorities. Like you, I hope with all my heart that this will end very soon.”

She added that she was “deeply shocked” by what the “young soldier” is going through.

Last weekend, it was reported that several Hamas officials were meeting in Cairo to discuss the final deal for swapping Schalit and Palestinian prisoners in Israel. Those reports were not confirmed by The Jerusalem Post.

Schalit has been in captivity since June 25, 2006, nearly five years.

The Schalit’s lawyer Nick Kaufman explained that the French justice system has a unique function called investigating judges who are mandated to conduct investigations into criminal proceedings involving French nationals.

“The judge can order the law enforcement agencies to open an investigation and instruct them on how to go about it,” said Kaufman. The jurisdiction in this case applies because Schalit, apart from being an Israeli citizen also possesses French citizenship.”

Kaufman explained that at this stage the request was only being made to assign an investigating judge and that the next step would be requesting the opening of an investigation and hopefully down the line, the issuing of arrest warrants against Schalit’s holders.

The investigating judge assigned to the case, will not be allowed to participate in any eventual trials involving the subjects of his investigation.

Tovah Lazaroff and Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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