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Israeli court resumes trial in killing of American activist Rachel Corrie

2 September 2010 | Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice

Haifa, ISRAEL

On Sunday, September 5th, the Haifa District Court will resume hearing testimonies in a civil lawsuit filed by Rachel Corrie’s family against the State of Israel for her unlawful killing in Rafah, Gaza.  Rachel Corrie, an American student activist and human rights defender from Olympia, Washington, was crushed to death on March 16, 2003, by a Caterpillar D9R bulldozer while nonviolently protesting Palestinian home demolitions with fellow members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).  The second phase of the trial is expected to shed more light on the circumstances of her death and the Israeli government failure to conduct a thorough, credible and transparent investigation into her killing.

Thirteen affidavits have been submitted by the State, including those from both the driver and commander in the bulldozer that ran over Corrie, and from other military personnel involved.

Rachel Corrie / Courtesy Rachel Corrie Foundation

“As the trial in the killing of our daughter Rachel resumes in Haifa, we look forward to hearing from the State’s witnesses,” said Rachel’s father, Craig Corrie.  “For seven years our family has asked the Government of Israel to provide a complete, credible, and truthful explanation for the killing of our daughter.  We hope and demand they will take this opportunity to provide one.”

Cindy Corrie added,”If the peace process unfolding in Washington, D.C. is to have any hope of success, the pursuit of truth, accountability, and justice for all the suffering that has occurred in this land must proceed with determination.  We look forward to that happening in Rachel’s case.”

The lawsuit charges that Rachel Corrie’s killing was intentional.  Alternately, it charges that the Israeli government is responsible for negligence of Israeli soldiers and military commanders who acted recklessly using an armored military bulldozer without due regard and due diligence to presence of unarmed and nonviolent civilians and who failed to take appropriate and necessary measures to protect Rachel’s life, in violation of obligations under Israeli and international law.

The government of Israel argues that Rachel Corrie’s killing took place in the course of armed conflict in a closed military zone and should be considered an “Act of War,” or “War Operation,” absolving soldiers responsible from liability under Israeli law.  The government argued for dismissal stating that the Israeli government is immune from such a lawsuit based on controversial legal theory that actions of the Israeli army in Rafah, Gaza, should be considered “Acts of State.”  Finally, the Israeli government argues that Rachel Corrie acted in reckless disregard of her life and was responsible for her own death.

“After seven years Rachel Corrie’s family will have the chance to hear the testimonies of those who were responsible for her death,” said Attorney Hussein abu Hussein, who represents the family.  “This civil trial is an important step to hold accountable not only those who failed to protect Rachel’s life but also the flawed system of military investigations which is neither impartial nor thorough.”

Court dates are currently set for September 5, 6, and 21 and October 7, 17, and 18 before Judge Oded Gershon at the Haifa, District Court, 12 Palyam St., Haifa, Israel.  All trial sessions are currently scheduled from 9:00-16:00.  See any changes to the schedule and register to receive further press releases at rachelcorriefoundation.org.

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Phone (Israel): 972-52-952-2143