ICJ joins call for UN inquiry on killings and injuries in Gaza

Speaking today at a special session of the UN Human Rights Council, the ICJ joined calls for an independent international inquiry into the use lethal and other force by Israeli security forces in Eastern Gaza.

The statement read as follows:

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) deplores apparent violations of international law by Israeli security forces during the past six weeks in Eastern Gaza near the border with Israel, in relation to demonstrations by Palestinians.

The ICJ is concerned at the many killings and serious injuries associated with the excessive, unjustified or otherwise unlawful use of force, including the killing of a number of children.

The ICJ recalls that international human rights law permits use of lethal force only when strictly necessary to protect life. The ICJ understands that Israel has taken the position that only the international law of armed conflict, and not international human rights law, was applicable, and that all lethal force used against protestors was justified. The ICJ insists that human rights law – and specifically, standards on the use of force in law enforcement contexts – was indeed applicable, and that the use of lethal force was in the circumstances wholly unjustified.

Excessive force, including lethal force, has apparently been used against unarmed persons who do not pose a threat to life. Irrespective of legal regime, such use of force is manifestly inconsistent with the principles of necessity and proportionality.

The ICJ joins the call for this Council to establish an independent Commission of Inquiry or similar investigation, to ensure accountability for serious violations of international law.


Update: The session concluded with the adoption (29 yes, 2 no, 14 abstained) by the Council of a resolution establishing a Commission of Inquiry.

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