Thursday, June 19, 2003

IDF assasinations could be considered war crimes

The assassinations carried out by the Israel Defense Forces in the territories could be considered war crimes, according to the chairman of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Prof. Antonio Cassese.

Cassese's opinion will be submitted today to the High Court of Justice as part of a hearing for a petition filed by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) and the Palestinian Al-Qanon human rights organization.

The petition, filed a year-and-a-half ago, was drafted by attorneys Avigdor Feldman and Michael Sefarad.

High Court President Justice Aharon Barak and Justices Theodor Or and Eliahu Mazza have already rejected an argument presented by the state, which tried to convince the court that the assassination issue is not adjudicative.

In the next hearing to be held in three weeks, the court will consider the petitioners' request to issue a temporary injunction that would bar any assassinations (or targeted pinpoint preemption, as Israeli authorities call them) until the petition is decided.

According to the petition, from the start of the intifada in October 2000 until April 2003, the IDF has killed more than 230 Palestinians, including 80 children, women and other innocent bystanders, in this manner.

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