The ICJ calls on the UN Human Rights Council and the Security Council to respond to the findings of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, and fully implement all its recommendations.
This should be done with a view to ensuring accountability, including effective remedy and reparation, for all violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses committed by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and by Palestinian armed groups, the ICJ says.
The ICJ further calls on the Human Rights Council to establish an independent mechanism to monitor the implementation of the Commission’s recommendations by both parties.
“Israeli and Palestinian authorities must break the chronic cycle of impunity in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. All credible evidence of war crimes, such as the Commission of Inquiry has highlighted, must be properly investigated,” said Said Benarbia, Director of the ICJ MENA Programme.
“No one who is responsible, whether military or civilian and regardless how high their office, can be allowed to escape justice,” he added.
The Report published last week, and discussed today at the Human Rights Council, documents serious violations of international law and human rights abuses committed during the conflict, such as indiscriminate attacks, including disproportionate attacks, and direct attacks against civilians and against civilian objects that are not justified under the International Humanitarian Law.
The Commission found that artillery and other explosive weapons had been used in densely populated areas, that entire neighborhoods in Gaza had been destroyed, and that unguided rockets had been used.
As indicated by the Commission, some of those acts may constitute war crimes.
To date, both Israeli and Palestinian authorities have failed to meet their obligations under international law to effectively investigate the violations and to prosecute anyone criminally responsible.
Investigations and criminal proceedings initiated by the IDF’s Military Advocate General (MAG), which is also involved in the planning and execution of the IDF’s military operations, fall short of international standards including in relation to independence and impartiality.
No criminal investigations into violations and abuses committed by Palestinian armed groups appear to have been initiated by the Gaza authorities.
The ICJ calls on both authorities to provide for effective, independent and impartial investigation mechanisms in line with international standards.
Absent such reforms, international justice mechanisms can and should fill accountability and remediation gaps where domestic authorities are unwilling or unable to effectively administer justice.
“Israeli and Palestinian authorities must reform the framework for their current investigations and prosecutions. They must also fully cooperate with international accountability mechanisms, including the preliminary examination initiated by the International Criminal Court,” Benarbia said. “The aim throughout must be to make known the truth about the violations, to identify and hold those responsible to account, to ensure victims’ rights, and to prevent any recurrence.”
Theo Boutruche, Legal Adviser of the ICJ Middle East and North Africa Programme, tel: +33 670735747, e-mail: theo.boutruche(a)icj.orgNewsPress releases