The Delegation of Legal Experts, hosted by the
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), concluded their visit to the Gaza
Strip, yesterday 19 December 2012. The
delegation’s visit started on Friday, 14 December 2012, upon PCHR’s request, to
help in the investigations on war crimes committed by the Israeli occupation
forces during its latest offensive against the Gaza Strip. The delegation was of 4 legal experts from
Norway, Ireland and United Kingdom.
During their visit, the delegation held a
series of meetings with Mr. Raji Sourani, Director of PCHR, Lawyer Iyad
al-Alami, Deputy Director for Administrative and Legal Affairs, and the staff
of the Legal Aid Unit, who had started building the legal case files for the
victims since the first day of the offensive, to ensure redress for the
victims, especially that the statute of limitations does not apply on the war
crimes committed against them. The
delegation was briefed on the nature of the legal work done by PCHR and
listened to a detailed explanation on the main cases built by PCHR lawyers.
The experts discussed a number of legal files
related to the latest Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip with PCHR
lawyers, and listened to each of them separately on the nature of the cases
they are working on; studied several documentations, including affidavits,
eyewitness testimonies, medical reports and specialized reports, and gave them
their feedbacks. This process enriched
the lawyers’ understanding of international legal standards, and their files’
compatibility with them, in order to ensure its suitability for use before
national courts in other countries operating under the principle of
international jurisdiction, as well as in terms of presenting them to the
International Criminal Court (ICC).
The delegation’s visit included a number of
field tours. They visited several
locations that had been targeted during the latest Israeli offensive against
the Gaza Strip (14 – 21 November 2012).
They also met with a number of victims, families of victims and
eyewitnesses, and received detailed explanation by the Legal Aid Unit lawyers,
who accompanied them on their field tours, on the nature of the crimes
committed against Palestinian civilians and civilian facilities.
The delegation visited a number of sites,
including civilian houses targeted by Israeli warplanes, including those of al-Dalu,
Hijazi, al-Deeb, Abu-Zour, Azzam and Bin Sa’id.
They also viewed the damages inflicted on al-Quds Satellite Channel’s
office in al-Shorouq tower building, Abu-Khadra Governmental Complex and other
civilian establishments targeted by Israeli warplanes during the offensive.
The delegation also met with a number of
experts of the Explosives Engineering Department of the Palestinian Police,
learned about the nature of their work and shared a number of relevant observations
regarding evidence preservation of fragments and remnants of missiles. In the
same context, officers of the Explosives Engineering Department accompanied the
experts in a field tour to the location of the attack on al-Aqsa Satellite
Channel car – both cameramen in the car were killed in the attack, where they
witnessed the extraction of shrapnel from the missile by explosives experts;
and they also visited and examined the targeted vehicle.
It should be mentioned that the delegation of
legal experts came to the Gaza Strip at PCHR’s request. PCHR believed it was necessary to benefit
from their expertise in its persistent efforts to comprehensively construct the
legal files in order to present them before ICC and international courts to prosecute
Israeli war criminals, taking into consideration PCHR’s extensive theoretical
and practical experience in the field of legal work related to the construction
of comprehensive legal files enables it to prosecute war criminals and ensure
the victims’ right to judicial remedy.