PCHR, al-Mezan and Adalah Hold Press Conference on Israeli Supreme Court’s Decision to Reject Appeal against Closure of Investigation into Killing of Baker Family Children
On Tuesday, 26 April 2022, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), al-Mezan Center for Human Rights and Adalah Centre held a press conference at PCHR’s head office on the decision of the Supreme Court of Israel to reject an appeal filed by the three organizations against the closure of investigation into the killing of Baker children in the 2014 Israeli military offensive on Gaza.
Raji Sourani, PCHR’s Director, opened the conference and addressed how the Court’s decision provided cover for the crime committed by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) after 8 years of work where the three organizations exhausted all domestic legal avenues to prove that the occupation with all its executive, legislative and judicial authorities cover the war crimes committed against the Palestinian civilians. Sourani added that “we have never trusted the Israeli Judiciary, and after exhaustion of all the domestic avenues, time has come for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to act.” He also criticized the international community’s double standard and ICC Prosecutor’s prompt action in Ukraine, saying the Prosecutor should take serious steps in Palestine, “there is no sacred blood and dispensable blood.”
‘Issam Younis, al-Mezan’s Director, said that the Court’s decision reveals the reality and that justice is far from being served in this part of the world. He added that Palestinian civilians bear the unbearable cost of the occupation’s endless crimes that are encouraged by the cover the Israeli judiciary curtails for perpetrators of these crimes. Younis added that one of the striking points in the Court’s decision was its allegation that the occupation forces comply with the principles of proportionality and distinction when the entire world eye-witnessed the murder of the Baker children live on international and local tv cameras.
Hasan Jabareen, Director of Adalah Center, indicated that this case is one of the most important files that test Israel’s judicial impartiality, as the three human rights organizations made a comprehensive and professionally documented file. At the Supreme Court’s hearing, there were three judges and the hearing was presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Also, it seems that the selection of judges was not spontaneous, as the court decided not to go into details and only consider the general principles. The court relied on and affirmed two principles:
- First, as a Supreme Court, it does not interfere in decisions made bythe Legal Advisor to the Government to open an investigation or not, nor does it compel him to file indictments against soldiers, and that the executive authority’s decisions are immune.
- Second, during the Israeli military operations on the Gaza Strip, the international criminal law could not be applied because the commander takes the decision according to the circumstances in the field, with the aim to fortify killings that have occurred or may occur against Palestinians.
At the end of the conference, the three organizations emphasized that they shall continue the legal proceedings to seek redress for victims, hold perpetrators accountable and ensure victims have access to long-awaited justice in the light of double standards and the striking difference in the international position between Ukraine and Palestine.
Hence, the three organizations call upon the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to recognize objectively that Israel refuses to open serious investigations into all Israeli human rights violations committed by the occupation’s forces during military operations on the Gaza Strip. Accordingly, the Office of the ICC Prosecutor will be responsible for conducting investigations and trials as per the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
The three human rights organizations call on the international community to play its legal and moral role to end the ongoing Israeli violations of international humanitarian law and the principles of international human rights law, and to ensure that the perpetrators of such violations do not enjoy the impunity.