Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Scott R. Morris

First Page



This Article offers an analysis of Israel's response, or lack thereof, to the 1995 admission by Israeli war hero General Ayre Biro that he participated in the slaughter of forty-nine unarmed Egyptian prisoners of war in 1956 during Israel's struggle for independence. While in the past Israel has actively pursued the prosecution of war criminals who committed atrocities against its own people under the battle cry "lest we forget," the country has recently shown a strong reluctance to take action against General Biro for his execution of Egyptian prisoners of war. Specifically, Israel reasons that its statute of limitations for murder precludes the prosecution of General Biro in Israel. In this Article, the author argues that General Biro's actions as well as Israel's protective stance toward General Biro constitute violations of International law. Therefore, he asserts, Israel has three legal options: (1) turn over General Biro (voluntarily or through an extradition request) to a mutually agreeable nation for trial; (2) try him by a military commission (if recognized by Israeli law); or (3) hand General Biro over to an international tribunal. Upon evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of these options, the author concludes that Israel should refer this case to the United Nations for investigation by an independent prosecutor. This recommended plan of action, he argues, both allows Israel to meet its obligations under international law and prevents Egypt from acquiring personal jurisdiction over General Biro.