On Thursday, 23 March 2017, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) in cooperation with the National Society for Democracy and Law (NSDL) in Rafah organized a panel discussion attended by civil society representatives, journalists and academics. During the discussion, lawyer Raji Sourani, PCHR’s Director, emphasized that the legal submissions filed to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by the Palestinian human rights organizations are going as expected. He hoped that the preliminary examinations end so the submissions would be referred to the ICC by the end of this year.
Sourani added that the right to self-determination advocated by all international treaties is not only a right but a duty of people under occupation to practice this right and work to achieve it with all legitimate means. He stressed that the Palestinian human rights organizations employ law in the service of this right through their legal work to prosecute the Israeli war criminals in order to achieve victims’ right to redress.
Sourani also addressed the UN ESCWA report. He considered its withdrawal as a setback for the UN’s credibility, revealing the UN as accessory after the fact and supporter of impunity. He stressed that Prof. Rima Khalaf’s position to declare its resignation is honorable and siding with justice and truth. He added that her position also contributed to revealing the pressures practiced on the UN and international bodies in general to cover up the Israeli crimes and allow Israel to enjoy impunity. Sourani also said that the Palestinian human rights organizations work on deposing a new submission to the ICC on discrimination.
Sourani pointed out that the UN Secretary General’s decision to withdraw the ESCWA report contributes to Israel’s impunity for crimes against humanity, whose elements were revealed in the report, and makes the Secretary General a partner in the suffering of the Palestinian people under the Israeli apartheid regime. He added that the General Secretary’s decision departs him from his role to implement the international law.
Sourani also mentioned USA’s position in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) which called for removing Palestine from the UNHRC agenda. He emphasized that this position leads to supporting Israel in committing crimes against the Palestinian people and seeks to apply the law of jungle.
Sourani highlighted that the human rights organizations tirelessly seek to achieve human dignity and law, pointing out that who buries a professional report actually practices the rule of jungle. He believes that the legal work of the human rights organizations to prosecute the Israeli war criminals is strategic, ethical, humane, lawful, and civilized, stressing that the Palestinian people will never be a good victim of the Israeli occupation.
The meeting was opened with a welcoming speech from Prof. Ibrahim Mo’amer, Director of NSDL, while the session was facilitated by ‘Abdel Halim Abu Samrah, PCHR’s Public Relations Officer, who emphasized that this meeting is in the context of communication and networking to introduce the Palestinian society to PCHR’s work and efforts to prosecute the Israeli war criminals and achieve justice.