Response of Legal and Human Rights Organizations to the Haifa District Court Verdict and the Israeli Supreme Court Appeal in Corrie Case
Click on external links below to view full statements (often linked via organization’s name).
Jump to statements released around the May 2014 Israeli Supreme Court appeal hearing.
Jump to statements released in response to the August 2012 Haifa District Court verdict.
A final decision in the case has not yet been rendered by the Israeli Supreme Court.
Statements released around the May 2014 Israeli Supreme Court appeal hearing
“Human Rights Groups Urge Israel to End Impunity for Killing of Rachel Corrie” Joint statement by international legal and human rights organizations Adalah, Al-Haq, Al-Mezan, the Center for Constitutional for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR).
National Lawyers Guild: “…The NLG will be one of the many groups present at today’s hearing that ‘hope the Israeli Supreme Court will reverse the lower court decision and hold the perpetrators of Rachel’s killing accountable as mandated by international law,’ said NLG President Azadeh Shahshahani…” “…Impunity for crimes committed by the Israeli military cannot be allowed to continue unabated.”
Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI): “Rachel Corrie, a young, justice minded, caring, activist American Student human rights defender was run down and killed in Gaza while defending Palestinian civilians and their homes from Israeli military bulldozers. Her death continues to hang in the void between justice and impunity. PCATI engages in the struggle against impunity every day and therefore urges the public not to remain silent.” Comment released upon signing the joint human rights statement (above).
Statements released in response to the August 2012 Haifa District Court verdict
President Carter: “The killing of an American peace activist is unacceptable. The court’s decision confirms a climate of impunity, which facilitates Israeli human rights violations against Palestinian civilians…”
The United Nations (UN): Human rights expert Richard Falk: “The judge’s decision represents a defeat for justice and accountability, and a victory for impunity for the Israeli military. Such a shocking rationale flies directly in the face of the Geneva Conventions…”
Amnesty International: condemns Israeli court’s verdict… “the verdict continues the pattern of impunity for Israeli military violations against civilians and human rights defenders…”
Human Rights Watch: “The idea that there can be no fault for killing civilians in a combat operation flatly contradicts Israel’s international legal obligations to spare civilians from harm during armed conflict, and to credibly investigate and punish violations by its forces.” The judge’s statement that the military inquiry into Corrie’s death had been without fault was, “hard to reconcile with the facts. Military investigators repeatedly failed to take statements from witnesses, to follow up with the witness’s lawyer, and to re-interview witnesses to clarify discrepancies.” HRW Senior Researcher Bill Van Esveld, as quoted in the Guardian. Related statements from HRW’s Van Esveld can be heard on NPR’s All Things Considered.
Al Haq: Israel has claimed it is not responsible for the death of a civilian in armed conflict. However, this flatly ignores international law, which stipulates that Israel is under an obligation to take all measures to ensure that no civilians will be harmed during hostilities, and must at all times distinguish between military targets and civilians. The presence of a civilian in a combat zone does in any way not affect their right to protection. …” Al Haq director Shawan Jabarin as quoted in the Guardian.
Arab Association for Human Rights: “The ruling today was an expected disapointment. There is a clear culture of impunity that the Israeli army operates within and today we found out that American peace activists, like Palestinians, have no right to justice when the status quo is threatened.” HRA General Director Mohammed Zeidan. See also: Rachel Corrie trial verdict a failed attempt to criminalize solidarity.
Avocats Sans Frontières: “… the judge deemed that the internal investigation of the responsibility of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) had been appropriately carried out. However, for ASF, who has been observing the trial since 2010, the inquiry was not conducted in a complete, credible or transparent manner. The decision raises questions about the State of Israel’s obligation to insure the physical protection of civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions: “When justice and law become separated as they have in Israel, the law is demeaned and becomes merely another tool of oppression. As a human rights defender, a status articulated and defended by the UN, Rachel Corrie had every right – even a responsibility – to intervene when universal human rights are being violated…”
Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR): “…Rachel Corrie was within her rights protesting this illegal activity and should not have been attacked…” ” …in addition to the fact that she was a civilian, a prohibited target under Article 54 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the killing of Rachel Corrie violated Israel’s obligation as an Occupying Power to facilitate humanitarian work.”
Al Dameer Association for Human Rights: … Al Dameer reiterates its condemnation of the killing of Rachel Corrie. It asserts that the failure to criminally investigate this case and bring the perpetrators to justice represents Israel’s insistence on providing immunity to its soldiers in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights: Al Mezan reiterates its strong condemnation of the killing of Rachel Corrie as a clear violation of international law and human rights principles. It calls on the international community to ensure justice and respect human rights, and to confront the policy of immunity by applying the principles of international law to prevent further violations from being committed in the future.
Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR): “Defending human rights in Gaza should not come at the risk of death. Now more than ever we need human rights defenders on the ground to be able to carry out their work without fearing mortal danger.” CCR’s Laura Raymond, upon delivery to the U.S. Department of State (DOS) of an open letter with more than 17,000 signatures and 50 U.S. organizations calling on the United States Government to investigate the death of Rachel Corrie and each case involving death or serious injury of an American citizen by the Israeli military since 2001. The letter, a civil society response to the August 2012 verdict, was hand delivered to DOS on Nov. 16, 2012 by CCR and representatives from CODEPINK, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
Please also see the larger list of list of legal and human rights organizations that have monitored the Corrie case and trial. Links to their websites are provided.