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Given Israel’s History of Using ‘Justice’ System to Whitewash Crimes: Special Rapporteur on Assembly and International Community Must Fill Accountability Void

38th Human Rights Council Session Item 3: Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association

24-06-2018 09:39

 

 

 

 

 

 

38th Human Rights Council Session

Item 3: Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association

 

18 June 2018

Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights

Speaker: Nuriya Oswald

 

 

Given Israel’s History of Using ‘Justice’ System to Whitewash Crimes:

Special Rapporteur on Assembly and International Community Must Fill Accountability Void

 

 

Thank you Mr. President,

 

Al Mezan commends the Special Rapporteur on freedom of assembly and association for your joint communiqué expressing “outrage”[1] and condemning the killing of Palestinians by Israeli security forces in the Great Return March protests.

 

Since your statement, the figures of dead and injured have continued to grow with 104 Palestinians now killed within the protests since March 30th,[2] including 15 children, two journalists, two medics, and three people with disability. Another 3,835 people have been shot and injured by live fire.

 

You stated that “No evidence has emerged showing that such a situation occurred during the demonstrations that would make the lethal force used legal.”[3] Al Mezan confirms that this assertion continues to be accurate and that it points to the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

 

On May 24th, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected Al Mezan’s joint petition challenging Israel’s patently unlawful use of snipers and live fire to police the protests. The unanimous ruling, which served to justify the killings, contradicts the conclusions and preliminary results of international human rights organizations and UN bodies documenting and evaluating the events in Gaza.[4]

 

Israel has a long history of using its justice system to whitewash and cover up crimes. And since this system has not been restructured and there is no credible reason now based on empirical evidence to expect an outcome other than impunity, we urge you, within the function of your mandate, to support accountability and justice efforts internationally, in particular by:

  • Facilitating a credible investigation into the unlawful targeting practices and policies by conducting your own investigations and by supporting the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry;
  • Sending an allegation letter to the Israeli government regarding the aforementioned killings and injuries, including those submitted to your office by Al Mezan; and
  • If the State opens a quote-on-quote ‘criminal investigation’, follow the process until its completion and produce public documentation and analysis of the extent to which the system is compatible with international standards.

 

Al Mezan recalls that under the principle of universal jurisdiction, the prohibition of international crimes can be the basis for individual criminal liability in international and domestic courts. Al Mezan therefore urges:

  • States to open up their courts to try the aforementioned cases; and
  • The Council to encourage the International Criminal Court to urgently open a full investigation into alleged international crimes committed; and

 

Finally, while noting that the protests and their attendant serious human rights violations are ongoing, Al Mezan calls on all states, including the United Kingdom and other states that abstained on the vote, to promote the principles of human rights protection, accountability, and respect for the international rule of law, and support the Commission of Inquiry in implementing its mission. 

 

 


 

[1] Nyaletsossi Clément Voule, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of assembly and association, joint statement, UN human rights experts condemn killings of Palestinians near Gaza fence by Israeli security forces. 17

April 2018, available at: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22950&LangID=E

[2] According to the monitoring and documentation of Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights.

[3] Ibid footnote 1

[4] Adalah-Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Israeli Supreme Court fully adopts Israeli army’s position, gives green light to continued use of live fire, snipers against Gaza protesters. 25 May 2018, available at: http://mezan.org/en/post/22875