Encyclopedia > War Crimes Law (Belgium)

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War Crimes Law (Belgium)

Belgium's War Crimes Law allows anyone to bring war crime charges in Belgian courts, regardless of where the alleged crimes have taken place. However, Belgium can dismiss politically motivated suits by transferring them to the defendant's nation of residence. The law took effect in 1993 and was expanded the following year after 10 Belgian soldiers were killed in Rwanda.

Over the years many cases have been filed against American officials, including George H. W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Norman Schwarzkopf and Tommy Franks. Cases have also been filed against the leaders of many other countries, such as Iraq and Israel, although these have been less controversial.

In a continued effort by the United States to pressure Belgium, United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has threatened to remove the NATO Headquarters from Brussels unless it changes the Law.

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