Question of Palestine home
Economic and Social Council
21 October 1999
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 26th MEETING
Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,
on Friday, 9 April 1999, at 6 p.m.
: Mr. BAUMANIS (Latvia)
CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS, INCLUDING THE QUESTIONS OF:
(a) TORTURE AND DETENTION
(b) DISAPPEARANCES AND SUMMARY EXECUTIONS
(c) FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
(d) INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY, ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE, IMPUNITY
(e) RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE
(f) STATES OF EMERGENCY
(g) CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION TO MILITARY SERVICE (
This record is subject to correction.
Corrections should be submitted in one of the working languages. They should be set forth in a memorandum and also incorporated in a copy of the record. They should be sent
within one week of the date of this document
to the Official Records Editing Section, room E.4108, Palais des Nations, Geneva.
Any corrections to the records of the public meetings of the Commission at this session will be consolidated in a single corrigendum, to be issued shortly after the end of the session.
The meeting was called to order at 6 p.m.
(North-South XXI) said that she had come to bear witness to the suffering of thousands of people who had been held captive in Israeli jails or in the Al-Khiam detention camp located in the area occupied on behalf of the Israelis by Antoine Lahd. She herself had spent 10 years in the Al-Khiam camp. She had been subjected to multiple forms of torture and to total and permanent isolation for six years.
27. Some inmates had died from the whipping or electric charges, and others had been shot. There were also mothers who had been isolated from their children for months or years, youths arrested when under the age of 12, and sick and elderly prisoners. Some were imprisoned to bring pressure to bear on their relatives; others were not told the reasons for their detention. One had had his leg amputated and was still in the camp, 14 years later. Al-Khiam was a place where the idea of a trial was unknown, where arbitrary detention and torture were rampant, where 16 inmates had died and where 120 were still being held.
28. The Israeli Supreme Court, in violation of international law, had upheld a Government ruling that Lebanese detainees could be taken as hostages with a view to later prisoner exchanges.
29. The Commission should consider the question of detainees in Israeli jails and the Al-Khiam camp, urge the closure of the camp, which violated international law, denounce the decision of the Supreme Court, condemn the Israeli occupation, and call for the implementation of resolution 425, and in particular for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanese territory.
(Arab Organization for Human Rights) drew attention to the plight of the 170 Lebanese hostages held without trial or warrant by Israel, of whom 128 were in the Al-Khiam detention camp and the rest in three Israeli prisons. Since the establishment of the Al-Khiam camp, 14 prisoners had died there from torture, and two more had died in hospital shortly after their release. Conditions at the camp were unhealthy, and illness rife.
35. The transfer of captives from Israeli-occupied Lebanese territory to prisons within Israel was a serious violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. In a major and unprecedented breach of international law, the Israeli Supreme Court had ruled that it was legal to detain Lebanese citizens with the purpose of using them as bargaining chips in prisoner exchanges.
36. The international community should condemn the Israeli Supreme Court's decision and call on Israel to release immediately prisoners who were sick, under-age or had finished serving their sentences, to free all Lebanese hostages and close down the Al-Khiam camp, and to pay compensation to the families of those detainees who had been killed while being tortured.
The meeting rose at 9 p.m.