NGO rejects IDF's 5th war crimes report, use of weaponry in UNRWA incident

Adalah on Sunday rejected the validity of the IDF's fifth report on its probes of alleged war crimes against its soldiers during the 2014 Gaza war as well as its investigations generally.

August 28, 2016 19:29
2 minute read.
The International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel on Sunday rejected the validity of the IDF’s fifth report on its probes of alleged war crimes by its soldiers during the 2014 Gaza war as well as its investigations generally.

The IDF, the UN Human Rights Council, the International Criminal Court and others have been investigating war-crimes allegations related to the killing of around 2,100 Palestinians (with an ongoing debate about how many were civilians) during Operation Protective Edge in which 73 Israelis or foreigners in Israel were also killed and hundreds of thousands of Israelis fled their homes from rocket fire.

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On Wednesday, four cases of allegations of killing Palestinian civilians adding up to a total of 49 people during the war were closed by the IDF.

The report found that the IDF actions had been legal either because intelligence made a mistake in good faith, the civilians were killed by Hamas or the IDF had not even attacked.

Adalah said that the IDF’s investigations do not live up to international law standards and should be replaced by an outside investigation.

More specifically, the Haifa-based NGO rejected the IDF’s closing of an investigation into an August 3, 2014, incident in which the army killed 15 civilians in the courtyard of a protected UNRWA facility where they were staying for refuge from the fighting.

The IDF said it had legitimately targeted three Hamas operatives on motorcycles, but that as they drove, they moved unpredictably toward the nearby UNRWA school.

Explaining that the operations personnel in real-time did not notice civilians in the courtyard outside the school when they ordered the attack, the report said that the attack was legal and the IDF attackers could not be prosecuted for harming innocents who they did not see. It also noted that by the time the IDF noticed the civilians’ presence, it was too late to halt the missile that had been fired.

In contrast, Adalah said that the weaponry used by the IDF in the attack was inherently too dangerous to be used in such an urban setting, inevitably led to civilian deaths and was essentially no different than targeting civilians.

Further, the NGO complained that two years after the war ended, out of 27 war crimes complaints files it has sent to the IDF, only three have led to criminal probes, with one being closed and the other two still having no decision.

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