Al Mezan Center for Human Rights – Gaza 3 Years On: Impunity over Accountability – Israel’s unwillingness to investigate violations of international law in the Gaza Strip

Between July 2014 – August 2014, Israel launched a military offensive in the Gaza Strip named “Operation Protective Edge” (OPE). During this operation, Palestinian men, woman and children were killed and injured and civilian objectives were targeted on a large scale, including schools and homes. These events led the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights to file a series of complaints with the Israeli Military Advocate General and the Israeli Attorney General. The Center demanded independent investigations into suspected violations of international humanitarian law (IHL), international human rights law (IHRL) and international criminal law (ICL) during OPE, and the criminal prosecutions of perpetrators.

Setting forth three case examples, this report shows that Israel is unwilling to adhere to its obligation under international law to genuinely investigate allegations of war crimes and other serious violations of international law, and to hold perpetrators of these crimes to account. The case studies show that, if investigated at all, the complaints were invariably rejected and no criminal investigation or other action was initiated. This has continued to be the case despite the establishment of Israeli’s own Fact-Finding Assessment Mechanism (FFAM), in the wake of OPE, which was supposed to improve its investigative processes.

In the past, commissions of inquiry and fact-finding missions by United Nations treaty bodies, among others, were set up to investigate and review incidents ensuing from Israel’s military activities in the Occupied Palestinian territories. However, to date, Al Mezan reports that their recommendations have not been implemented by Israel, and impunity for international law violations continues to be systematic. The authors thus conclude that new tools and follow-up measures are needed if impunity is to be overcome.