Our organisation, the first international human rights NGO to have gained access to the Gaza Strip since the ceasefire was agreed in August 2014, also asserts that the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups, causing civilian deaths, may also amount to international crimes.
“Most of people we met with, all of whom have lived through previous attacks on Gaza, told us that the summer offensive in 2014 was the worst they had seen. Bombs fell entirely indiscriminately, on men, women and children alike.” declared Gaëlle Dusepulchre, one of the members of the FIDH delegation who visited Gaza strip.
The report was submitted this morning to the ICC, three days before Palestine’s ratification of the ICC Statute goes into effect (1 April 2015). While a preliminary examination by the ICC prosecutor into the situation in Gaza was initiated in January 2015 at the request of Palestine, FIDH hopes that in submitting the report, the ICC will take the case even further.
“It’s now time for ICC to move from a mere preliminary examination of the conflict to a full investigation. The Prosecutor must go to the field in order to appreciate the magnitude of the crimes committed“, declared Shawan Jabbarin, FIDH Vice-President. “We all hope that April 1st will be a milestone in the fight against impunity in Palestine and Israel. Palestinian have been waiting for justice for far too long”.
The report compiles examples of indiscriminate and direct attacks against civilians and civilian objects, disproportionate to any concrete military advantage, as well as deliberate attacks targeting medical services, among other potential crimes. The report also presents several testimonies collected during field visits undertaken by the FIDH delegation. The team visited Rafah, Khan Younis, Beit Hanoun, and Gaza City, including Shuja’iya, where they took stock of the situation and met with victims of the military offensive.
In addition to possible war crimes and crimes against humanity, the situations documented, such as the refusal of access to humanitarian relief, the targeting of residential areas, operational healthcare facilities and transport, and life-sustaining civilian infrastructure are consistent with violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.
“Impunity is nothing but an invitation to commit further such crimes. It’s time for international justice to prevail over an unwilling national justice system“, concluded FIDH President Karim Lahidji.
Download the report “Trapped and Punished: The Gaza Civilian Population under Operation Protective Edge”