Riwal lawsuit (re separation wall between Israel & Palestine)
Snapshot: In 2010, Al-Haq filed a criminal complaint against Riwal in the Netherlands for its participation in constructing the wall between Israel and Palestine that was deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2004. In May 2013, the Dutch Public Prosecutor dismissed the case.
Riwal is a Dutch company that makes large-scale cranes and access equipment for construction sites.
On 3 July 2006, two years after the ICJ ruled that Israel’s construction of the wall on occupied Palestinian territory was illegal, Riwal’s involvement in the construction of the wall was unintentionally revealed in a Dutch television documentary. Ben Bot, then-Foreign Affairs Minister, forced Riwal to promise that its equipment would no longer be made available for the construction of the wall.
However, in June 2007, an inquiry by Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem confirmed that Riwal cranes were still used in the construction of the wall. The news received extensive media attention in the Netherlands and led to a debate in parliament. Then-Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Verhagen allegedly warned the company: “I expect Riwal to stop providing cranes for the wall. I hope this will be the last we hear of it”.
Despite this warning, Riwal equipment was once again observed by the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace at the new Ariel West industrial park in the occupied West Bank in 2009.
On 15 March 2010, a criminal complaint was filed by Advocate Liesbeth Zegveld on behalf of Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq against Riwal’s parent company, Lima Holding BV. Riwal was accused of being complicit in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity. These offenses are contrary to the Dutch International Crimes Act.
On 13 October 2010, more than 40 plain clothes detectives from the Dutch National Crime Squad raided and searched the headquarters of Riwal in Dordrecht. The investigators took away some paper documentation and computer files for further investigation.
Latest Legal News
On 14 May 2013, the Dutch Public Prosecutor announced the decision to dismiss the case against Lima Holding BV for Riwal’s involvement in Israeli war crimes.
Although the Prosecutor confirmed that Dutch persons and legal entities are required to refrain from being involved in any manner with violations of international humanitarian law, it decided that Riwal’s contribution was minor.
- Dutch company raided over involvement in occupation, The Electronic Intifada, 20 October 2010
- Riwal investigated, VertiKal.net, 14 October 2010
- Dutch Gov't Warns Company to Stop Work on W. Bank Fence, Haaretz, 9 July 2007
Documents from NGOs
- Prosecutor Dismisses War Crimes Case against Riwal, Al-Haq, 14 May 2013