Extrajudicial Assassinations: Official Israeli Policy - by Stephen Lendman
Extrajudicial assassinations are willful, premeditated, cold-blooded murder. Nonetheless, they're official Israeli policy. Killers get impunity. Investigations rarely happen. Occasional ones absolve crimes, letting new ones repeat freely. Israel's Turkel commission sanctioned the Mavi Marmara massacre. A previous article discussed it, accessed through the following link:
Israel's internal 2008 - 2009 Cast Lead investigation absolved brazen Gaza crimes of war and against humanity, explained through the following link:
Israel's July 22, 2002 Al-Daraj massacre is discussed below. Belatedly, its Special Investigatory Commission (SIC) whitewash followed, exonerating 16 murders, including eight children. More details below.
Relevant International Law
Portions of a previous article on extrajudicial assassinations are repeated below.
They're indefensible, morally abhorrent, and illegal under international laws and norms. Article 23b of the 1907 Hague Regulations prohibits "assassination, proscription, or outlawry of an enemy, or putting a price upon an enemy's head, as well as offering a reward for any enemy 'dead or alive.' "
Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person." UDHR also recognizes the "inherent dignity (and the) equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family."
So do "just war" principles that rule out gratuitous violence, assassinations, (especially premeditated ones), war against civilians, and so on, despite the difficulties of distinguishing between combatants, those who've laid down their arms, and innocent civilians in times of war.
In 1980, the Sixth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders condemned "the practice of killing and executing political opponents or suspected offenders carried out by armed forces, law enforcement or other governmental agencies or by paramilitary or political groups," supported by official forces or agencies.
The General Assembly also acted in response to arbitrary executions and politically motivated killings. On December 15, 1980, it adopted resolution 35/172, urging member states to abide by the provisions of Articles 6, 14 and 15 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights, covering the right to life and various safeguards guaranteeing fair and impartial judicial proceedings.
The first provision of the 1989 UN Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions states:
"Governments shall prohibit by law all extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions and shall ensure that any such executions are recognized as offences under their criminal laws, and are punishable by appropriate penalties which take into account the seriousness of such offenses. Exceptional circumstances, including a state of war or threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency may not be invoked as a justification of such executions. (They) shall not be carried out under any circumstances including, but not limited to, situations of internal armed conflict, excessive or illegal use of force by a public official or other person acting in an official capacity or by a person acting at the instigation, or with the consent or acquiescence of such person, and situations in which deaths occur in custody. This prohibition shall prevail over decrees issued by governmental authority."
These articles and provisions apply to occupied civilian populations. So does Fourth Geneva. Its Article 3 affords occupied populations special protection, covering all actions related to "(v)iolence to life and person, Murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture." In addition, "The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees....recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples."