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Dutch-Palestinian Sues Benny Gantz in the Netherlands: Interview With Attorney Liesbeth Zegfeld

Liesbeth Zegveld

Interviewed by Noura Erakat
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On 17 September 2019, Ismail Ziada, a Dutch national of Palestinian descent, brought a civil suit against Benny Gantz, head of Israel’s Blue and White Party and the Israeli Army General Chief of General Staff during the 2014 Gaza onslaught and Amir Eshel, Israeli Air Force Chief. The suit alleges war crimes for the killing of six of Ziada’s family members including his mother, three brothers, sister-in-law, and twelve-year old nephew when the family’s home in the Al-Bureij refugee camp was bombed in 2014. The hearing will determine whether the Dutch court has jurisdiction. In this interview, Noura Erakat speaks with Liesbeth Zegveld, Ziada’s attorney and renowned human rights attorney, scholar of international humanitarian law, and professor at Leiden University.


Liesbeth Zegveld
Liesbeth Zegveld

Professor Liesbeth Zegveld is partner at Prakken d’Oliveira Human Rights Lawyers

Liesbeth Zegveld is partner at Prakken d’Oliveira Human Rights Lawyers, a renowned law firm in Amsterdam.
As head of the international law & human rights department, she has worked on numerous high-profile cases, focusing on war victims from all over the world. In 2013, the Dutch Supreme Court decided in favor of victims from Srebrenica, represented by her. Earlier this year, widows from Indonesia, also clients of Liesbeth Zegveld, were granted compensation for the execution of their husbands by Dutch military in the post-colonial conflict in 1945-1949. In November 2014, the grand chamber of the European Court of Human Rights decided in favor of another case of Zegveld: an Iraqi whose son was killed at a vehicle checkpoint in Iraq. Furthermore, she assisted Kurds and other victims who were attacked with chemical weapons in Iraq and Iran in the 80ties. In 2018 Liesbeth Zegveld represented Salo Muller against Dutch state-owned Railways (NS), concerning the large-scale transports of a.o. Jews to Nazi concentration camps. Also in 2018, Zegveld started a case on behalf of a victim of sexual abuse against the Catholic Church. More recently, the case of Zegveld relating to the relatives summarily executed men during the final years of Dutch colonial rule in Indonesia, led to a ground-breaking decision of the appellate court to lift the statute of limitations.

From 2006 until 2013 Liesbeth Zegveld was Professor International Humanitarian Law, in particular the Rights of Women and Children in Armed Conflict, at Leiden University. Since 2013 Liesbeth Zegveld holds the chair ‘War Reparations’ at the University of Amsterdam.  
In 2010 Liesbeth Zegveld founded the Nuhanovic Foundation. The Nuhanovic Foundation assists war victims who seek access to justice.

Liesbeth received various awards for her work for war victims.

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