Tuesday, September 28, 2010

UN mission finds Israel used "incredible violence" in Flotilla raid

Press release, Human Rights Legal Aid Fund, 28 September 2010

The following press release was issued by the Palestine Legal Aid Fund on 25 September 2010:

"No one was safe," once Israeli soldiers began using live ammunition on board the Mavi Marmara, says an authoritative UN investigation team into the Israeli attacks on the Gaza aid flotilla.

Their report is now going to be considered by the 57-member UN Human Rights Council that has the chance to finally ensure that Israel is held accountable for committing what the UN Fact-Finding Mission (UNFFM) found to be serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law including war crimes of willful killing and torture.

The UNFFM found that Israeli military personnel used "incredible violence" against civilians who the investigators describe as "persons genuinely committed to the spirit of humanitarianism." These persons include the British passengers who were on board the Gaza-bound aid flotilla. They have both welcomed the findings of the UN inquiry -- which found a strong prima faciecase of the commission of several war crimes -- and have urged UK government and Human Rights Council members to refer these war crimes allegations to the International Criminal Court.

British passenger Alex Harrison, a 32-year-old activist, responded to the report by saying, "I sincerely welcome the UN mission's confirmation that Israel's siege on Gaza is an unlawful collective punishment and their finding that the attack on our flotilla was unjustified and brutal."

The report affirmed the Gaza blockade and flotilla interception as illegal. These findings underscore the legal arguments put forward by lawyers who have been working with the passengers since 31 May and supported in part by the Human Rights Legal Aid Fund (www.humanrightsfund.org).

The Mission recommends that the perpetrators of the attacks should be brought to justice. The Mission has indicated that these breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention could give rise to individual criminal responsibility.

No comments: