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To Address Void in Accountability in Israel, Al Mezan Calls on UN Special Rapporteurs and Member States to Support Commission of Inquiry Mandate and International Justice Processes

38th Human Rights Council Session Item 3: Clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on summary executions and the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression

24-06-2018 09:41

 

 

 

 

 

 

38th Human Rights Council Session

Item 3: Clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on summary executions and the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression

 

19 June 2018

Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights

Speaker: Nuriya Oswald

 

To Address Void in Accountability in Israel, Al Mezan Calls on UN Special Rapporteurs and Member States to Support Commission of Inquiry Mandate and International Justice Processes

 

Thank you Mr. President,

 

Al Mezan commends the Special Rapporteurs on summary executions and on freedom of expression for your joint communiqués in which you “condemned the killing” of Palestinians by Israeli security forces in the Great Return March protests.[1]

 

Since your statement, the figures of dead and injured have continued to grow with 104 Palestinians now killed within the protests in Gaza since March 30th, and another 3,835 shot and injured by live fire.[2]

 

You stated that “There is no available evidence to suggest that the lives of heavily armed security forces were threatened”.[3] Al Mezan confirms that this assertion continues to be accurate in the context of the demonstrations and recalls that wilful killing or serious injury of the protected population amounts to grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention and crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

 

Yet, on May 24th, having refused to view crucial video evidence, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected Al Mezan and Adalah’s joint petition challenging Israel’s patently unlawful use of snipers and live fire to disperse the protests. The unanimous ruling contradicts international law enforcement standards and serves as a legal cover up by the highest court in Israel, in place of accountability and justice.[4]

 

To fill the gaping void in accountability in Israel, we urge you, within the function of your mandates, 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 allegation letters to the Israeli government regarding the aforementioned killings and injuries; and
  • If the State opens quote-on-quote ‘criminal’ investigations, 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.

 

Al Mezan also urges the Council to encourage the International Criminal Court to initiate a full investigation into alleged international crimes committed.

 

Finally, while noting that the protests and their attendant serious human rights violations are ongoing, Al Mezan calls on all states 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. 

 

Thank you.


 

[1] See: Joint Special Procedures communiqué, UN rights experts condemn Israel’s response to Palestinian protests in Gaza. 6 April 2018, available at: https://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22924&LangID=E

Joint Special Procedures communiqué, 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