Time: 2pm (+2 GMT)
On 16 May 2019, the Office of the Military Advocate for Operational Affairs notified Al Mezan Center for Human Rights of the closure of the investigation into the killing of Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, 29. On 15 December 2017 in the east of Gaza City, Abu Thuraya, a double amputee, was shot by Israeli soldiers in the east of Gaza City. He was at a demonstration at the time, protesting the US embassy move to Jerusalem. Abu Thuraya was shot at approximately 50 meters from the parameter fence. He was unarmed and posed no threat to the soldiers. Based on its documentation of the case, on 17 December 2017, Al Mezan sent a request for investigation to the Military Advocate General (MAG) and shared necessary evidential documents to support the request. However, the investigation into Abu Thuraya’s killing was closed without charges. The MAG did not cite a reason for closing the investigation in the notice to Al Mezan.
In Paragraph 2 of the decision, Al Mezan was notified, as in previous cases, that: “should the Center wish to review investigation materials, a request should be made to the head of the Military Police Criminal Investigation Division.” However, all previous requests made to access investigation materials, in accordance with this Paragraph, have been denied. Another denial would be based on Article 539 (A) of Israel’s Military Justice Law 5715-1955, which provides that information used in investigations may not be released. Al Mezan has, nonetheless, submitted a request to the MAG for clarification of the reasons for closing the investigation.
Al Mezan reiterates that the killing of Abu Thuraya amounts to the blatant and excessive use of force and is a clear violation of the right to life under international human rights law. Under the law enforcement paradigm that governs protests, lethal force may be used only as a last resort in order to protect life. Al Mezan categorically rejects the MAG’s decision to close the investigation without charges pressed for unlawful killing of a peaceful protester, disclosure of the reasons for the case closure, or due consideration of the evidence in the case.
This decision is another data point in a long history of impunity that Israel affords itself for serious violations of international law perpetrated against Palestinians. In doing so, the justice system fails to operate in line with international standards of independence, impartiality, expediency, thoroughness and transparency. The decision-making process and outcome are in clear breach of the United Nations’ 1990 Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors, under Article 12 of which “[p]rosecutors shall, in accordance with the law, perform their duties fairly, consistently and expeditiously, and respect and protect human dignity and uphold human rights, thus contributing to ensuring due process [...]”.
Al Mezan calls on the international community to exercise pressure on Israeli authorities to ensure compliance with international legal norms and rules, including its own obligations under conventions and treaties to which it is a contracting party. Al Mezan urges members of the international community to take prompt action to hold to account perpetuators of violations, and to exercise their jurisdiction to this end in line with established international legal frameworks.
 Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, “Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors”. Available at https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/RoleOfProsecutors.aspx