No impunity: More than 140 international law experts from around the world denounce Israel’s grave violations of international law
They further slam Israel for the victimization of Gaza’s civilian population “in the name of a falsely construed right to self-defence”. Similar to the opinion expressed by muslim lawyer in a previous blog post, the experts are of the view that Palestine including the Gaza strip is subject to a belligerent occupation that commenced in 1967. Citing the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza of 2009, the scholars are of the view that the operation is directed at the people of Gaza as a whole. According to the joint statement Israel is violating the law of armed conflict which establishes the fundamental principle of protecting the civilian population and imposes the absolute prohibition any acts of violence against non-combatants and civilian objects. The huge numbers of civilian casualties can by no means be justified. The experts further agree on the fact that by intentionally targeting civilian objects, Israel could be held liable of war crimes. The indiscriminate and disproportionate slaughtering of the entire population of the Gaza strip and its virtual imprisonment amounts a form of collective punishment which is prohibited under Article 33 IV. Geneva Convention. The international law scholars also criticize the international community’s complicity in these gross violations of fundamental IHL-norms. The joint declaration concludes with several demands, including immediate action of the UN, the Arab League, the EU and individual states and the international community in its entirety to put an end to Israel’s violence against the civilian population of the Gaza strip and to hold accountable those responsible. The scholars conclude their fervent statement with a very powerful and important remark, by declaring that they
“denounce the shameful political pressures exerted by several UN Member States and the UN on President Mahmoud Abbas, to discourage recourse to the International Criminal Court (ICC), and we urge the Governmental leaders of Palestine to invoke the jurisdiction of the ICC, by ratifying the ICC treaty and in the interim by resubmitting the declaration under Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute, in order to investigate and prosecute the serious international crimes committed on the Palestinian territory by all parties to the conflict”.
Read the complete joint declaration at www.jadaliyya.com