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Al Mezan praises achievement in the trial against the killer of British activist Tom Hurndall

12-04-2006 00:00

London Courts this week found IOF soldier Taysir Hayb, guilty of unlawfully and intentionally killing British photojournalist Tom Hurndall in Gaza in 2003, thus in flagrant violation of international law, namely the Fourth Geneva Convention.
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Israeli authorities had refused to give evidence throughout the legal proceedings, even obstructing a British police investigation.
On Tuesday 10 April 2006, the British Attorney General was called on to seek war crimes charges against the IOF officers in command of Sergent Harb.
On April 11th, 2003, 21- year-old Tom Hurndall, working for the International Solidarity Movement in Rafah south of the Gaza Strip, was shot in the head in broad daylight by an Israeli sniper; Tom was hospitalized in British Royal Hospital.
He died on January 13th, 2004.
The Israeli sniper later said his commanders had issued orders allowing him to shoot even unarmed civilians.
Tom Hurndall had been running out into the street under IOF gunfire to lead three Palestinian children to safety when he was shot.
The IOF initially refused more than a routine internal inquiry into Tom’s murder, and concluded that Hurndall was shot accidentally in the crossfire.
Hurndall's family collected evidence that in fact he was aimed at, and demanded an investigation.
After several months of pressure from the Hurndalls, supported in part by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, Israel's Judge Advocate General ordered the IDF in October 2003 to open a military police investigation.
In June 2005, Sergeant Hayb was convicted of manslaughter, obstruction of justice, giving false testimony and inducing comrades in his unit to bear false witness, and later was sentenced to eight years in prison by a military court.
The British attorney general was called upon this week to see how, with respect to the Geneva Conventions Act, prosecution might be sought of those involved in issuing orders about when soldiers can shoot, and "prevent similar fatalities", including possible prosecutions of Israeli commanders.
Al Mezan asserts that the murder of Tom Hurndall was in violation of international human rights law and humanitarian law, and that the latest achievements in the case against his killer are a positive step in the direction of justice.
The IOF, particularly in the Gaza Strip, poses a clear danger to foreign and Palestinian civilians and must be made accountable for its military actions.
Such steps could prevent similar misconduct in the future, and establish more careful procedures to prevent killing of Palestinian civilians or foreigners.
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Tags / #crimes