In the summer of 2014, during the military offensive on Gaza that Israel code-named ‘Operation Protective Edge’, at least five Palestinians in Gaza, including a child, had their lives endangered when used as human shields by Israel’s military forces.
LPHR, with our longstanding partner, the Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights based in Gaza, has today published a joint report today entitled: ‘Justice Denied: Gaza human shield survivors and the systemic failure of Israel’s military investigation system to provide accountability‘, that publicly catalogues these five grave human shield incidents together for the first time. Four years on from Operation Protective Edge, our joint report details the harrowing accounts of the five human shield survivors, and the denial of justice for them due to the systematic failings of Israel’s military criminal investigation process.
Our report clearly demonstrates that the five human shield incidents represent the egregious continuation of a pattern of reported human shield use against Palestinian civilians by Israel’s military forces over a number of years that has effectively gone unpunished. This state of affairs is indicative of there being an established practice or policy of Israel’s military to use Palestinian civilians as human shields.
Our report further provides legal context highlighting that the use of human shields is prohibited under international law and amounts to a war crime. The absence of legal accountability for these cases not only leaves survivors without legal remedy and justice, but dangerously emboldens the repeated recourse and normalisation of using human shields.
Our report illuminates that four years on from the devastating military offensive launched on Gaza by Israel, the only viable avenue to possibly obtain justice and legal accountability for Palestinian victims, survivors and their families of apparent war crimes is through the International Criminal Court and other international accountability mechanisms.
We encourage you to read our full report here. And we shall continue to work on this grave issue.