Lawfare Project Swiss Counsel Philippe Grumbach Files Civil and Criminal Complaints Against Kuwait Airways in Geneva
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: Lawfare Project Swiss Counsel Philippe Grumbach, a partner at prestigious European law firm CMS, has filed an administrative complaint with the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) as well as a criminal complaint with the Prosecutor General against Kuwait Airways Corporation (KAC). The complaints were filed on behalf of an Israeli national living in Switzerland who was denied a ticket on a KAC flight from Geneva, Switzerland to Frankfurt, Germany. Read more on La Tribune de Genève.
The criminal complaint is based on the airline’s violation of the Swiss Penal Code as well as Swiss constitutional provisions that protect individuals facing discrimination based on race, religion or ethnicity. The civil complaint argues that KAC is violating the fundamental rights of Swiss residents and those traveling through Switzerland, and asks that the FOCA demand an end to KAC’s discrimination and withdraw the airline’s operating license until such time as the airline comes into compliance with Swiss law.
The plaintiff, a Geneva resident of Israeli origin, is presently studying at a Swiss academic institution. As stated in the complaint, the plaintiff has been “engaged since adolescence in the fight against inequality and discrimination of all kinds.” The plaintiff was accompanied to the Geneva airport by a Swiss court bailiff who transcribed a report detailing the refusal of the Kuwait Airways ticketing staff to sell a flight ticket to the plaintiff. He was “outraged and indignant to have been discriminated against because of [his] Israeli citizenship” and felt compelled to bring these legal actions to uphold his civil and human rights.
Both complaints reference The Lawfare Project’s success in fighting KAC’s discriminatory business practices in the United States, as well as the airline’s response to a Department of Transportation determination that it was unequivocally operating in violation of federal anti-discrimination laws. By cancelling its flight path from New York to London rather than admitting Israelis on KAC flights, the airline—a wholly owned instrumentality of the Kuwaiti government—demonstrated its commitment to discrimination even while exposing itself to enormous pecuniary loss.
This suit opens a new chapter in The Lawfare Project’s battle against Kuwait Airways and the discrimination mandated by Arab League governments who are subscribed to a 70-year boycott of the Jewish state, its people and businesses. Our work in this arena is critical in demonstrating to individuals and corporations engaging in discriminatory commercial practices that the legal and financial risks of refusing to deal with Israelis will be disproportionately painful for the boycotters. The Lawfare Project will continue to combat the Arab League boycott and its progeny, the BDS movement, in all their pernicious manifestations.