In violation of Palestine’s International Obligations, 5 Death Sentences Executed in Gaza Strip
Date: 04 September 2022
Time: 10:00 GMT
On Sunday, 04 September 2022, the Ministry of Interior in the Gaza Strip executed 5 death sentences against persons convicted of murder and collaboration with the Israeli Occupation without the ratification of the Palestinian President, in violation of the Palestinian Law and Palestine’s international obligations.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) expresses deep concern over the execution of death sentences in violation of the Palestinian and international law and emphasizes that justice cannot be achieved through violating laws. PCHR clearly affirms the importance of prosecuting the collaborators with the occupation, considering them complicit in war crimes. PCHR also stresses that murderers shall be prosecuted and brought to justice to achieve peace and stability in the society, but in the same time, it emphasizes that the rule of law is above all and execution of death sentences in violation of law jeopardizes justice values.
PCHR reiterates that any death sentence should not be carried out without the Palestinian President’s ratification as codified by laws, including the 2001 Criminal Procedures Law and 2003 Palestinian Basic Law which conclusively stipulates that this penalty should not be executed without ratification as Article 109 stipulates that,
“A death sentence pronounced by any court may not be implemented unless endorsed by the President of the Palestinian National Authority”.
According to the Interior Ministry’s statement, the death sentence by firing squad was executed against (N. A.) (44) after being convicted of collaborating with the Israeli occupation, and (J. Q.) (30) after being convicted of premeditated murder. Also, a death sentence by hanging was carried out against (K. S.) (54) after being convicted of collaborating with the Israeli occupation, (E. ‘A.) (43) after being convicted of premeditated murder, and (M. Z.) (30) after being convicted of premeditated murder and robbery, according to the statement. All death sentences were carried out at approximately 05:00 in Ansar Security Compound, western Gaza City.
PCHR has followed recent statements by government officials in the Gaza Strip on the government’s intention to carry out death sentences although such sentences have not been executed in the Gaza Strip for the last 5 years. On many occasions, PCHR expressed satisfaction at the non-execution of death sentences in the Gaza Strip that is very important with regard to the commitment to the Palestinian Law. No death sentences have been executed since 2017, where 6 sentences were carried out; 3 were on 06 April and 3 were on 23 May.
Since the establishment of the PA in 1994, 46 death sentences were executed: 44 in the Gaza Strip, and two in the West Bank. Of those executed in the Gaza Strip, 33 were carried out without the ratification of the Palestinian President in violation of Palestinian law. In this context, PCHR commends stresses the need to perpetuate the policy of refraining from ratifying death sentences in a prelude to abolishing this punishment from the Palestinian legislations.
PCHR reiterates that this year so far has witnessed an increase in the number of new death sentences issued in Gaza as it has risen to 17, including 3 sentences issued by military courts and 5 sentences issued to uphold former death sentences issued by appeal courts; all of those sentences were issued in the Gaza Strip. Accordingly, the total number of death sentences issued in the Palestinian territory since 1994 reached 270; 30 in the West Bank and 240 in the Gaza Strip. Among those issued in the Gaza Strip, 181 sentences were issued after the 2007 Palestinian political division.
PCHR calls upon the authorities in the Gaza Strip to respect the rule of law and not to execute any death sentence especially that the Palestinian President has not ratified any of them, as required by law.
PCHR reminds the authorities that the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is biding to Palestine, including the Gaza Strip. Therefore, PCHR calls on the authorities in the Gaza Strip not to use the death penalty and replace it with a life sentence with hard labor.
PCHR also calls upon the Palestinian President to issue a law by decree to revoke any articles in the Palestinian Law that conflicts with Palestine’s obligations under the ICCPR Protocol aiming at the abolition of death penalty.