Dexia Bank and Belgian Government Finance Illegal Israeli Settlements in Occupied Palestine
UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk rebukes Dexia Bank and Belgian Government
Global Research, October 22, 2013
by Mario Franssen, Intal spokesperson
Richard Falk, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in thePalestinian Territories Occupied since 1967, describes in his report to the UN General Assembly that the Belgian government can be held responsible for the funding by Dexia Bank of illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
For the second consecutive year, Richard Falk has examined the politics of Dexia Bank in the occupied Palestinian territories, through its subsidiary Dexia Israel. In his report submitted to the General Assembly of the United Nations on October 29, 2013, he is quite harsh for the Belgian government.
The Belgian government is the majority shareholder of Dexia Bank with 50,02 % of the shares. Dexia Bank in turn is 66 % owner of Dexia Israel. In his report Mr. Falk makes very clear that this can have serious consequences.
The Belgian government under fire
The Special Rapporteur sees at least five elements that can put the Belgian government in an awkward position:
- Since Belgium has signed the Geneva Conventions, and Dexia Israel violates Article 49 (p 6) of these conventions, Belgium fails in its duty to enforce these agreements (p.15 of the report)
- The Special Rapporteur states that Dexia Israel violates Human Rights. Because the Belgian government is majority shareholder, Belgium must take the necessary steps to prevent these activities and / or punish those responsible within Dexia Israel (p. 15-16)
- Richard Falk also criticizes Dexia because it has withdrawn from the Global Compact, a self-regulatory instrument within the United Nations of which Dexia Bank was a member. This is especially surprising because Dexia Bank withdrew in April 2013, after the Belgian government became the majority shareholder (p. 16)
- International Criminal Law is applicable according to Mr. Falk. Belgium is a signatory of the Rome Statute.Thus Belgian citizens fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. The ICC could investigate whether Dexia staff is involved in war crimes. (p. 16-17)
- The Belgian State can be held responsible for the damage caused by its bank, Dexia. Possibly this may lead to the payment of damages and reparations. (p. 17)
Finally Mr. Falk criticizes the Belgian government in the conclusions (p. 23-24) and calls on the Belgian NGO’s and human rights organisations to continue to put pressure on the Belgian government to end its involvement in the illegal colonization of the occupied Palestinian territories.
* Read the full report of the Special Rapporteur:http://www.un.org/en/ga/third/68/documentslist.shtml
DEXIA – BELFIUS: Belfius Bank and Insurance, known as Dexia Bank Belgium up until 1 March 2012, is a for-profit PLC originally founded to meet local authority needs. Belfius emerged from the dismantling of the Dexia group, of which it was part until 10 October 2011, when it was purchased by the Belgian State for 4 billion euros. The company’s headquarters are in Brussels.