Belhas v. Ya’alon

On August 31, 2007, CJA authored and submitted a brief to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in a class action lawsuit against former Israeli Lieutenant General Moshe Ya’alon for claims of war crimes and extrajudicial killing resulting from the Israel Defense Force’s 1996 attack on a United Nations compound in Qana, Lebanon.

More background on the case is available on the website of CJA partner the Center for Constitutional Rights.

In December 2006, the District Court for the District of Colombia dismissed the case on the grounds that Ya’alon enjoyed sovereign immunity under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA).

Our brief argues that the district court’s dismissal of the case on FSIA grounds effectively nullifies the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA).  Further, we argued that Congress clearly intended that the TVPA would apply to former government officials.  Our brief also explained that our clients would be without a remedy if all government officials were given immunity under the FSIA.  Oral argument was heard on December 10, 2007.


On February 15, 2008 the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal.

Attached Documents

CJA Amicus Brief
31 Aug 07 Amicus Brief: CJA, Center for Constitutional Rights and Others
Related Documents
05 Feb 08 DC Circuit Court Decision
15 Nov 07 Reply Brief for Plaintiffs-Appellants
15 Oct 07 Defendant: Appellee Brief
30 Aug 07 Plaintiffs: Appellants Brief
14 Dec 06 DC District Court Opinion Dismissing Case