Gaza/Occupied Palestinian Territory: Immediate Ceasefire Necessary to Prevent Further Civilian Casualties and Crimes under International Law

by | Nov 2, 2023 | News

The International Commission of Jurists renews its call for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip following the most recent Israeli attacks on the densely populated Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza on 31 October and 1 November 2023.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, the two strikes killed at least 195 people. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) claimed that the 31 October airstrike targeted and killed Ibrahim Biari, a claim Hamas denied. The IDF further claimed that Biari was one of the Hamas commanders responsible for the 7 October attacks in Israel.

Intentionally directing an attack against civilians or civilian objects or intentionally launching an attack knowing it will cause disproportionate civilian harm is a war crime. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern that these attacks may be “disproportionate attacks that could amount to war crimes”.

Gaza’s Health Ministry maintains that the number of Palestinians killed since 7 October has surpassed 9,000 and the Committee on the Rights of the Child has expressed concern that more than 3,500 children have been killed.

The ICJ considers that an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire by all sides, and an immediate cessation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip, including direct, indirect and disproportionate attacks on civilians and civilian objects, are necessary to stop further loss of civilian life.

According to the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, there is already clear evidence that war crimes may have been committed in Israel and Gaza since 7 October.

In this regard, the ICJ notes the visit by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan KC, to the Rafah Crossing on the Gaza-Egypt border on 29 October 2023 and, in particular, commends his commitment to investigate the ongoing attacks, and his call for all further attacks to cease immediately. The Prosecutor confirmed that his Office has an ongoing investigation with jurisdiction over the Palestine situation, including current events in Gaza.

In light of the above, the ICJ considers that, only an immediate ceasefire will prevent war crimes, and prevent the risk of crimes against humanity and genocide.

The ICJ calls upon Palestinian armed groups to adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law, including by releasing all hostages in their custody, and urges the IDF, particularly its military advocate generals, to ensure full respect for international humanitarian law in the conduct of hostilities.

 

Contact:

Said Benarbia, Director, ICJ’s Middle East and North Africa Programme, email: said.benarbia@icj.org

Katherine Iliopoulos, Legal Adviser, ICJ’s Middle East and North Africa Programme, email: katherine.iliopoulos@icj.org

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