ICHR demands that no death sentences rendered by the Military Justice Authority in the Gaza Strip be implemented

ICHR demands that no death sentences rendered by the Military Justice Authority in the Gaza Strip be implemented 

         The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) views with grave concern the continued issuance of death sentences by the Military Justice Authority in the Gaza Strip and violations of the guarantees of a fair trial.

On 3 December 2018, the Standing Military Court of Gaza rendered five sentences to death by hanging against A. A., a 48-year-old resident of Al-Daraj neighbourhood in Gaza city, A. A., a 24-year-old resident of Al-Shati’ refugee camp in Gaza city, A. A., a 32-year-old resident of Rafah city, and M. A. a 32-year-old resident of Al-Qarara neighbourhood in Khan Yunis city. These citizens were charged with collaboration with hostile entities in violation of Article 131 of the Palestinian Revolutionary Penal Law of 1979. In accordance with Article 153 of the 1979 Revolutionary Penal Law, the court also sentenced in absentia A. M., a 55-year-old female resident of the 1948 territory, on charges of espionage with hostile entities.

Additionally, the Standing Military Court rendered a sixth sentence to death by firing squad against B. A., a 52-year-old resident of Northern Gaza, on charges of collaboration with hostile entities as opposed to the provisions of Article 144 of the 1979 Revolutionary Penal Law, and accomplice in murder in violation of Article 88 in reference of Article 378(a) of the same Law.

The ICHR views the continued issuance of death sentences as a decline of human rights, particularly the right to life. The ICHR reiterates its position, rejecting capital punishment which constitutes a grave violation of the right to life enshrined in international conventions.

These rulings brings to 15 the total number of death sentences rendered by the Gaza-based courts since the beginning of 2018. Death penalties constitute a legal violation and breach of trust placed in the State of Palestine after it acceded to international conventions.

The ICHR confirms that the civilians, against whom death sentences were rendered, should have not been brought before military courts. Trial before a military court violates a civilian’s right to the right to seek redress in the judicial system in line with the standards of fair trial.

The ICHR stresses the need to avoid impunity in accordance with the laws, which safeguard human rights and maintain security and stability of the Palestinian society. However, the ICHR calls:

-        On relevant executive agencies in Gaza not to carry out any death sentences.

-        To respect guarantees of a fair trial and prosecute the accused in tandem with applicable legal norms and considerations.

-        To respect guarantees of a fair trial and not to bring civilians before military courts.

-        To comply with the international human rights conventions and instruments, to which the State of Palestine has acceded and signed.

 

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