In the summer of 2014, during the military bombardment of Gaza that Israel termed ‘Operation Protective Edge’, at least five Palestinians in Gaza, including a child, had their lives endangered when used as human shields by Israeli military forces.
Al Mezan and LPHR’s joint report published today entitled: ‘Justice Denied: Gaza human shield survivors and the systemic failure of Israel’s military investigation system to provide accountability‘, publicly catalogues these five grave human shield incidents together for the first time. Four years on from Operation Protective Edge, our report highlights the harrowing accounts of the five human shield survivors and the denial of justice for them due to the well-documented 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 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. 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.
The 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 and crimes against humanity is through the International Criminal Court and other international accountability mechanisms.
You can read our full report here.
Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights (Al Mezan) is a Palestinian non-governmental human rights organization that works for the protection and promotion of Palestinian human rights and the rule of law in Gaza as part of occupied Palestine.
Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR) is a lawyer-based charity in the UK that works on projects to protect and promote Palestinian human rights. LPHR’s mission is to use our expertise to meaningfully contribute towards transforming the critical human rights situation impacting Palestinians.