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Trial in killing of American activist Rachel Corrie resumes in Israeli court

5 October 2010 | Rachel Corrie Foundation

Haifa, Israel – The Haifa District Court will resume hearings on Thursday, October 7 in the 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 first phase of the trail began in March 2010, when the Corrie family presented its witnesses, including several of Rachel’s colleagues from ISM who witnessed her killing. During the second phase of the trial, which began in September, the government will present several witnesses, including the Israeli military police investigator who headed the investigation into Rachel’s death, and the bulldozer operators who struck and killed her.

“When our daughter was killed, the Israeli government promised a thorough, credible and transparent investigation into her death, and neither our family nor our government believes that standard has been met,” said Cindy Corrie. “After seven years, we hope the government witnesses will be compelled by this trial to provide some of the answers that have so long been denied us.”

The lawsuit charges that Rachel’s killing was intentional. Alternately, it charges that the Israeli government was negligent for allowing Israeli soldiers and military commanders to act recklessly using an armored military bulldozer without due regard to the presence of unarmed, nonviolent civilians in Rafah. It also alleges that the Israeli military 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’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,” and that its soldiers are therefore not liable for her death under Israeli law. It also argued that the case should be dismissed based on controversial legal theory that actions of the Israeli army in Rafah, Gaza, should be considered “Acts of State.” Finally, the government argues that Rachel acted in reckless disregard of her life and was responsible for her own death.

The proceedings have been attended by representatives of the US embassy, Lawyers without Borders, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), the Arab Association for Human Rights, Al Haq, Adalah, and Human Rights Watch.

“We pursue this case not just for our daughter,” said Craig Corrie, “but for the many civilians killed in Gaza, still remembered, still loved, still awaiting justice.”

Hearings are scheduled for October 7, 17,18 and 21 between the hours of 9:00-16:00 before Judge Oded Gershon at the Haifa, District Court, 12 Palyam St., Haifa, Israel.

See any changes to the schedule and register to receive further press releases at www.rachelcorriefoundation.org.