ICJ concerned at Israel’s use of collective punishment

The ICJ expressed disappointment today at the ruling by Israel’s Supreme Court allowing for the deportation of West Bank residents Antisar Ajouri and Kifah Ajouri to Gaza.

The two Palestinians are the sister and brother of Ali Ajouri, who is alleged by Israel to have been responsible for a suicide attack in Tel Aviv on 17 July. Although the Court accepted that both had been aware of the attack, neither has been formally charged with any criminal conduct.

The ICJ had submitted an expert opinion to the Court arguing that the deportation would contravene provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, including the prohibition on collective punishment.

The ICJ expressed satisfaction at the Court’s pronouncement that the Government could not use deportation of family members as a means to deter future attacks. However, the ICJ remains concerned that in allowing for the deportation of persons who have not themselves been convicted of criminal activity, the court has de facto approved the use of collective punishment.

The ICJ welcomed the Court’s decision to bar the deportation of a third person, Abdel Nasser Asida, the brother of another accused Palestinian. The Court ruled that there had been no connection between his acts of assistance to his brother and the alleged terrorist activities.

The ICJ believes that if there is evidence that the deportees have engaged in criminal activity, they should be charged with an offense under law, with proceedings before a regularly constituted court under international standards of fair trial.

“The suicide attacks against civilians are deplorable”, said ICJ Legal Adviser Ian Seiderman, “and the fact that the alleged actions are of such a serious nature makes it all the more compelling that they be subject to judicial scrutiny.”

Note: For further information, please contact: Ian Seiderman at 41-22-979-3800.

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