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 threatened to remove the NATO Headquarters from Brussels unless the Law was changed.
On July 12, 2003, the incoming government of Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt announced that scrapping this law would be among the first acts carried out.