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January 14, 2014 – Shurat Hadin-The Israel Law Center on Tuesday filed a petition with the High Court of Justice against Justice Minister Tzipi Livni to compel her to cooperate with providing information relating to a US terror financing court case against the Bank of China.
The NGO said it had filed the petition after Livni’s “failure to respond to a request for information issued by the New York District Court under the Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters.”
The Hague Convention is one of a series of international conventions which regulates and sometimes requires cooperation between states in providing relevant evidence in foreign court cases that happens to be held in a different state.
The information requested pertains to the case brought in the US courts by Shurat Hadin against the bank on behalf of 22 victims of terrorism.
The families of the victims have accused the bank of knowingly allowing Hamas and Islamic Jihad to launder their funds through the bank’s accounts for use in perpetrating terror attacks against American civilians while in Israel.
Shurat Hadin sad that the case “was commenced at the instigation and encouragement of the Government of Israel in 2008,” but that it “hit a twist when Israeli officials made a u-turn in their promise to allow former intelligence agents to testify” against the bank in the US courts citing national security and a need to safeguard their state secrets.
It said that the information requested from the Justice Ministry “plays a critical role in the case, following the Government of Israel’s maneuvering to prevent key Israeli intelligence officials from testifying in the case.”
Shurat Hadin’s said its original request, forwarded by the US courts, was delivered to the Justice Ministry on June 26, 2013, requesting “the assistance… necessary in the interests of justice, in conformity with Article 3 of the Hague Convention.”
However, the NGO added that half-a-year later it had received no response.
Shurat Hadin Director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner commented, “We have filed this suit today as we believe Minister Livni is culpable not only of failing in her duties under the Hague Convention, but of failing the Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism in their quest for justice.”
According to the NGO, the letter from New York District Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein to Livni stated that the evidence requested includes documents from an April 2005 Israel-China counter-terrorism officials meeting during which Israel told China that transfers to accounts of Said ZR al-Shurafa (“Shurafa”) “were being made by the PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] for the purpose of carrying out terrorist attacks.”