By Irfan Khan*
International humanitarian law is a set of rules which aim to limit the effects of armed conflict. It protects persons who are not or are no longer participating in the hostilities and restricts the means and methods of warfare. International humanitarian law is also known as the law of war or the law of armed conflict. Violation of International humanitarian law is occurring in various part of the world.
Last year, there was a protest from along Gaza border fence. Israeli security forces have killed more than 180 Palestinians. Accordioning to UN Commission of Inquiry, Israeli forces were unable to justify such humanity killing. Chairperson Santiago Canton told journalists in Geneva that “the Commission has found reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli security forces committed serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law”.
Further he remarked “These violations clearly warrant criminal investigation and prosecution and we call on Israel to conduct meaningful investigations into these serious violations and to provide timely justice for those killed and injured.”
The commission was created by UN Human Right Council in May last year, which comprised 47 members. The commission was given an assignment of investigating all violence linked to anti-Israeli demonstrations on the Israel-Gaza border from 30 March to 31 December 2018. The commission conducted 325 interviews with victims and witnesses.
The commission investigated vitriolic results: 6106 Palestinian were affected with live ammunition while protesting and 3,098 were injured by bullet fragmentation and gas canisters. Moreover, Israeli snipers shot health workers, journalists and disable persons. Even children also faced such cruelty. As, Commissioner Betty Murungi gave narration of child of about 11, who got shot while playing football near the fence with Israel. Another Commissioner Sara Hossain argued that although the killings have lessened, we still see protected groups of individuals including children…still being killed as recently as three weeks ago”. She further added that “we found that in all of the demonstrations, there was violence in the form of the use of the throwing of stones and burning of tyres by a minority of demonstrators”. She further stressed that “There were women and children present, there were people having poetry reading, playing music, waving flags, things that can’t in any way be violent,” “I think the characterization of all the demonstrators as violent is something we wouldn’t agree with.”
Commission chairperson Santiago Canton called on the de facto authorities in Gaza to ensure that demonstrations were peaceful. He remarked that “The Commission finds that these protests were a call for help from a population in despair”. The Commission of Inquiry’s full report is dated 18 March 2019 to be presenting to the Human Right Council.
*Irfan Khan is an Islamabad based freelance writer.