UNESCO Chair an-Naja University: Killings in Iraq Burin a war crime.
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UNESCO Chair an-Naja University: Killings in Iraq Burin a war crime.

In this report the UNESCO Chair presents its findings with regard to the facts and circumstances related to the death of Usaid Abd Qadus (19) and Muhammad Ibrahim Abdel-Qadr Qadus (16) from the village of Iraq Burin (Nablus Governate) on Saturday 20 March 2010.

In the 15 page report, the UNESCO Chair establsihes that:

“The death of Muhammad and Usaid was caused by two targeted shots with metal bullets, fired by the Israeli forces. As was established in the previous paragraph, those shots could not have been justified by military necessity. Two remaining required elements for such a use of violence to constitute the crime of willful killing are actus reus (material element) and mens rea (intent). As becomes clear from the findings presented above, the Israeli forces fired targeted shots (in the head and chest) of live ammunition at two unarmed boys, which confirms that the Israeli forces were shooting at civilians, from who they know are protected under international humanitarian law (actus reus). Considering the method applied by the army (a positioned soldier shooting at the upper bodies), the intent to cause the deaths of the civilians fired at becomes apparent. Hence, the fulfillment of the means rea requirement can also be confirmed. The willful killing of civilians constitutes a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention (under Article 147 thereof), which consequently constitutes a war crime, and is subject to compulsory universal jurisdiction.

“Because of the actions of the Israeli army, Muhammad and Usaid have both been deprived of the inalienable and most fundamental human right; their right to life, which is enshrined in Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

It further points at the fact that Israeli occupation forces withheld medical aid for the two youth, breached their obligation to grant special protection for children in armed conflict under the Convention on the Rights of the Child of which Israel is a signatory and, finally, did not comply with their obligation to investigate.

Recommendations by the UNESCO Chair:

“The Chair further calls upon the international community to hold the perpetrators of war crimes, such as the forces who operated in Iraq Burin on 20 March 2010, accountable through the principle of compulsory universal jurisdiction. The State of Israel commits war crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory on a daily basis, so far with total impunity. It is the legal responsibility of the international community to sanction the state of Israel and hold it accountable for its acts in violation of international humanitarian law.

“The UNESCO Chair of An-Najah National University (Nablus, oPt) expresses its concern about the prevalent settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank and urges all High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to hold Israel accountable for its continuing violation of international law by the illegal establishment and expansion of settlements in the West Bank (including East-Jerusalem). In addition to the political implications of the illegal settlements in the West Bank, these settlements also form a substantial and alarming threat to the security of Palestinians and the prospects of sustainable peace in the future.

“We urge the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo, to act under article 15 of the Rome Statute and initiate preliminary investigations, proprio motu, into war crimes committed by Israel throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory on an ongoing basis. The killing of Usaid and Muhammad Qadus would be one of the many cases falling into the Court’s jurisdiction.”

For the full report, click here.