Palestinian Detainee Abuse during Operation Cast Lead - by Stephen Lendman
On July 6, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PACTI) and Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel released a report titled, "Exposed: The Treatment of Palestinian Detainees During Operation Cast Lead," detailing their horrific treatment.
Transferred to Israel for interrogation, detainees related grim details of their ordeal - grave human rights violations, showing Israel's "contempt for the rule of law."
Their "fundamental due process rights were trampled on and the rule of law brutally disregarded during and after the fighting," providing compelling evidence of collective punishment since Israel's 2005 "disengagement," followed by an embargo, a medieval siege, regular incursions, Cast Lead, and continued oppression of 1.5 million people - isolated, surrounded, attacked, brutalized, and slowly suffocated into submission, what hasn't happened and won't, but it doesn't deter Israel from trying, or America from providing weapons and funding its lawlessness.
Seizure and Detention in Gaza
Under Article 92 of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners relating to family notification about an individual's seizure, the ICRC says it must be "as soon as (someone is) interned, or at the latest not more than one week after....arriv(ing) in a place of internment" or a temporary camp.
Israeli law also obligates authorities to comply with international law, its High Court recognizing notification as a basic detainee right, ruling that relatives must be informed within 24 hours:
"of his arrest and his place of detention so that they will be apprised of what befell their detained relative, and how they are able to offer him the assistance he requires to safeguard his liberty. This is a natural right derived from human dignity and general principles of justice, and accrues both to the detainee himself and to his relatives."
Israeli human rights organizations tried to locate detainees, several complaining to Israel's Chief Military Advocate General (CMAG) demanding full information.
CMAG stonewalled, saying only that the ICRC was informed of detentions, including required information of their names, where held and why.
The IDF's Supervision and Control Center (SCC), responsible for collecting and maintaining detainee information, declined to provide HaMoked, the Center for the Defense of the Individual, with the information it requested.
In response to its habeas petition for 15 detainees, SCC said that "As long as the fighting continues.....the IDF may detain more Palestinian residents," their names given to the SCC within 48 hours of their transfer to Israel - an interpretation violating international law requiring prompt notification. Failure to do so may subject detainees to human rights abuses, including torture, use as human shields and other forms of abuse and humiliation, precisely what the evidence below shows.
Using Protected Persons as "Human Shields"
Under detention in Gaza, they were exploited for military purposes, including as human shields, for 10 days or longer - a grave violation of international and Israeli law.
Fourth Geneva explicitly prohibits using protected persons for any military purpose, including as human shields or hostages. It also bans threats to harm family members to extract information about their relatives.
The Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is also explicit, its Article 8 defining war crimes as grave Fourth Geneva breaches, including taking protected persons hostage and/or compelling they help their captor militarily.