Impunity persists for alleged violations in Occupied Palestinian Territories – OHCHR report
“Impunity continues to prevail,” the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said in a report on accountability for alleged violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) since 2008, including during large-scale protests beginning in March 2018 along the Gaza-Israel fence.
According to the report, which is produced annually at the Council’s request, and which was presented Wednesday by UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ilze Brands Kehris, Israeli security forces killed 131 Palestinians throughout the OPT from November 2018 to October 2019: 103 men, five women and 23 children.
Over the same timeline, 11 Israelis were killed by Palestinians, including one girl.
Suggesting a lack of accountability for the killing and injuring of civilians, the report highlights the killing of double-amputee Ibrahim Abu Thoryah on 15 December 2017, who was shot dead with live ammunition to the head while in his wheelchair.
“There was no indication that Mr. Abu Thoryah had posed an imminent threat of death or serious injury at the moment he was killed,” the report states. “His physical disability must have been clearly visible to the person who shot him, in the front of the head, some 15 to 20 meters from the fence.”
Questioning the efficacy of the accountability system in place by the Israeli military despite its assertion that allegations of misconduct are investigated effectively and thoroughly, the report says that 19 months after the start of the Great March of Return, the Israeli military system had delivered only one sentence in relation to “possible unlawful acts” by Israeli security forces.
“The persisting lack of accountability for possible unlawful acts committed against Palestinians perpetuates a cycle of impunity that facilitates the occurrence of further violations,” the report states.
While noting that Israeli soldiers had used live ammunition against protesters, paramedics and journalists covering the demonstrations, Commissioners highlighted that little was done by the Great March organizers to keep children out of harm’s way.