9 June 2009
On 9 July 2008, in continuation of their struggle for justice in the face of unlawful appropriation of their land, the residents of Bil’in village commenced legal proceedings before the Superior Court of Quebec in Canada, against Green Park International Inc. and Green
Mount International Inc. The defendants are Canadian corporations registered in the Province of Quebec who have been involved in the construction, marketing and selling of residential units in the illegal Jewish-Israeli settlement of Modi’in Illit on the land of the village of Bil’in, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).
The Green Park defendants have filed multiple dismissal motions with the Court, alleging that the claims of Bil’in should be dismissed summarily on four grounds; justiciability, forum non conveniens, res judicata and standing. The defendants have submitted that the Israeli courts, and not the Canadian courts, are the proper forum for this case to be heard, despite the fact that the Israeli courts have refused to rule on the illegality of Jewish-Israeli settlements in the OPT in light of international humanitarian law, instead holding the legality of the settlements to be non-justiciable (see for example, Bargil v. Government of Israel, HCJ 4481/91). The defendants have submitted that the Quebec Court should decline jurisdiction to hear the case and that it should be dismissed.
In response, Bil’in Village Council has submitted an expert opinion from an eminent Israeli law professor to the Quebec Court, which confirms that the case would not be heard by the Israeli courts. Green Park has submitted a contrary opinion in the form of an affidavit from its Israeli lawyer. The Superior Court of Quebec will hear the motions in Montreal, Quebec on 22, 23 and 25 June 2009 and it will then determine whether it can proceed to rule on the merits of the case.
Full information and documents relating to the case are available here. The case is also the subject of "Courtroom Intifada," a film of the series “People & Power” produced by Al Jazeera International. Al-Haq will continue to keep you informed of developments in the case. Please do not hesitate to contact haq @ alhaq.org should you have any questions, comments or require any further information pertaining to the case.
Litigation of this kind is extremely costly for Bil’in village and Al-Haq. Donations, however small, are therefore greatly appreciated by the village and are an important contribution to the pursuit of justice for Palestinians.Click here to learn how you can help support Bil’in village in their historic case.
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