PCHR FACTSHEET: Extra-Judicial Executions of Palestinians by the Israeli
Occupation Forces (IOF) January– March 2008.
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The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) continue to implement a systematic policy of extra-judicial executions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). From the beginning of the second Intifada in September 2000 until the end of March 2008, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have extra-judicially executed 724 Palestinian men, women and children.
IOF claim these Palestinians are wanted by the Israel security services, and have been “targeted” because they pose serious threats to Israel’s security. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) has investigated and documented these extra-judicial executions in depth. The Centre has concluded that the IOF has consistently acted with utter disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians in the OPT, and continues to carry out state sanctioned extra-judicial executions, thereby consistently violating international human rights law.
IOF utilize a host of rhetorical terms, such as “self defence, military response, Palestinian terrorists/ militants” in order to claim these extra-judicial executions are essential preventative responses which ensure the continuing security of the State of Israel. However, the facts on the ground reveal although in the overwhelming majority of cases the Palestinian suspects could have been arrested, no efforts were made to either apprehend or arrest them, and they were instead extra-judicially executed. IOF continue to employ the rhetoric of national security in order to justify why it extra-judicially executes suspects, as opposed to apprehending, arresting and questioning them according to due process. Since September 2000, in addition to executing almost 500 suspects, the IOF has also executed 228 civilian bystanders, including 77 children, who were not suspected of having committed any crimes.
During the first quarter of 2008 (January 1- March 31, 2008) the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) documented the extra-judicial executions of 32 Palestinians by IOF in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Twenty six of the victims were specifically targeted by the IOF – nineteen were targeted in the Gaza Strip and seven in the West Bank. In addition, six bystanders were killed during the carrying out of these extra-judicial execution operations in the Gaza Strip.
PCHR reiterates that the IOF policy of extra-judicial executions in the OPT is illegal under international human rights law. This is made explicit in the (1949) Fourth Geneva Convention (Article 3 (d)) which states that “the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgement pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples” is prohibited at any time and in any place “whatsoever.” In addition, Article 32 of the same Convention states,
“The High Contracting Parties specifically agree that each of them is prohibited from taking any measure of such a character as to cause the physical suffering or extermination of protected persons in their hands. This prohibition applies not only to murder, torture, corporal punishment, mutilation and medical or scientific experiments not necessitated by the medical treatment of a protected person, but also to any other measures of brutality whether applied by civilian or military agents.”