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2015 | Human Rights Committee - Report of the independent commission of inquiry into violations of IHL in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

On 23 July 2014, the Human Rights Council, by resolution S-21/1, decided to urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military operations conducted since 13 June 2014. Click here to read the full report.

The Commission was unable to take account of Israel's own position on the matters investigated as Israel was unwilling to co-operate with the Commission or answer any questions delivered to it. The commissioners sought to determine whether violations had been committed, to examine existing accountability mechanisms and their effectiveness as well as the immediate and continuing impact of the military operations on the affected populations and their enjoyment of human rights.

Section VI on Accountability reports that the investigations process followed by the Israel Defense Forces focuses on possible individual criminal responsibility at the level of the soldier on the battlefield. However, even where the behavior of soldiers and low-ranking officers during hostilities has come into question, this has rarely resulted in criminal investigations. Concerning the policy level, the commission still awaits the report of the State Comptroller’s inquiry into the procedure of decision-making by the military and political echelons during operation “Protective Edge”. Click here for the July 2015 update on the progress of that inquiry, from the State Comptroller's Office.

In addition, the Commission finds that Palestinian victims face significant obstacles that impede their right to benefit from effective remedies, including reparations. It also considers that investigations by Palestinian authorities are woefully inadequate and have left Israeli victims of allegedly criminal acts by Palestinian actors without redress.