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2013 | PCHR Report An Illusion of Justice

This report is an update of the 2010 Palestinian Centre for Human Rights report “Genuinely Unwilling” which dealt with the reluctance and incapability of the Israeli judiciary systems to offer any adequate legal recourse to Palestinian victims of alleged war crimes, particularly during operation “Cast Lead” (winter 2008-2009).

This 2013 report contains an update with respect to the subsequent cases filed by the PCHR. First of all, having done extensive research into the matter, the PCHR states “that Israel has committed widespread and systematic violations of international law, including grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and crimes against humanity.” The report then reiterates its previous analysis of the Israeli judiciary system, and reaches the same conclusion as before, namely that this system in itself is unable to investigate and prosecute alleged war crimes, whereas this is required by international law.

The PCHR submitted 490 criminal complaints to the Israeli Military Prosecutor, requesting that a criminal investigation be initiated with respect to the conduct of the IDF during operating “Cast Lead”. Over the following period of four years, a mere 44 responses were received, 43 of which either stated that the complaint was or would soon be under review, or declared that the case was closed.

In total, with respect to crimes committed during operation “Cast Lead”,  the Israeli Military Advocate General issued four indictments. Three of those resulted in prison sentences varying from 45 days to seven and a half months. The report concludes that “these convictions failed to reflect the gravity of the actual crimes committed.”