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At Special Session, Al Mezan to Human Rights Council: Appoint Commission of Inquiry and Secure Accountability and Protection of Human Rights

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21 May 2018 |Reference 40/2018

At the 28th Special Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on the deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), Al Mezan called for the members of Council to vote for resolution A/HRC/S-28/L.1 and establish a commission of inquiry to investigate all potential violations of international law occurring during the protests since 30 March 2018. Al Mezan is encouraged by the adoption of the important resolution, which condemns the breaches of international law documented in the past eight weeks, and urges all states, including those that abstained on the vote, to work for a swift and smooth commencement of the mandate.  


In Al Mezan’s oral statement to the Council, we recalled that numerous legal experts have concluded that Israel is unwilling or unable to conduct independent, transparent investigations, including the UN Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict, yet the state of institutionalized impunity in Israel has so far remained unaltered. We therefore urged the Council to view the commission of inquiry as a stepping stone to a full investigation by the International Criminal Court and to urgently call on the Court to finalize the preliminary examination stage.


During the special session, Al Mezan’s staff met with state representatives and civil society to articulate the importance of accountability in addressing the developing situation whereby peaceful protesters continue to be met by Israeli security forces with lethal and other excessive force. During the eight weeks leading up to the session, Israeli forces killed 86 and injured 7,047 at demonstrations, 3,670 by live fire, in what evidence suggests amount to unlawful, excessive force that could amount to willful killing and willfully causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or health.


Al Mezan is discouraged by the abstentions of Switzerland, United Kingdom and Germany, among others, and expects support for the commission of inquiry in the coming stages of its development to secure accountability and justice for victims, and to bring the situation to an end.


Al Mezan welcomes the resolution, which condemns breaches of international humanitarian and human rights law during the demonstrations in the oPt, including Jerusalem, and welcomes the mandates of an independent international commission of inquiry to investigate all violations committed in the context of the large-scale civilian protests.