Question of Palestine home
Economic and Social Council
4 February 1991
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Agenda item 12
QUESTION OF THE VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND
FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS IN ANY PART OF THE WORLD,
WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO COLONIAL AND OTHER
DEPENDENT COUNTRIES AND TERRITORIES
Summary or arbitrary executions
Report by the Special Rapporteur, Mr. S. Amos Wako, pursuant
to Commission on Human Rights resolution 1990/51
1. The present report is submitted pursuant to Commission on Human Rights resolution 1990/51 of 6 March 1990 entitled "Summary or arbitrary executions". This is the ninth report of the Special Rapporteur to the Commission on Human Rights on the subject.
2. In his eight previous reports (E/CN.4/1983/16 and Add.l, E/CN.4/1984/29, E/CN.4/1985/17, E/CN.4/1986/21, E/CN.4/1987/20. E/CN.4/1988/22 and Add.l and 2, E/CN.4/1989/25 and E/CN.4/1990/22 and Add.l), the Special Rapporteur dealt with and examined the various aspects of the phenomenon of summary executions, including legal and theoretical issues.
3. The present report opens in chapter I with a summary of the activities undertaken by the Special Rapporteur over the past year. Chapter II describes country-specific situations in which the Special Rapporteur has invoked his mandate: in part B thereof, the Special Rapporteur describes urgent appeals and other communications transmitted to Governments, together with any replies or observations received from them. The Special Rapporteur hopes that he has presented a comprehensive picture of the situation in each country.
4. In chapter III, the Special Rapporteur sets forth the legal and analytical framework within which he carried out his mandate. Finally, in chapter IV the Special Rapporteur sets forth his conclusions, highlighting four issues: (1) death threats, (2) deaths in custody, (3) executions following inadequate trial or judicial procedures, and (4) extra-legal executions within the context of situations of internal conflict.
5. Based upon his analysis of the information received, the Special Rapporteur closes his report with a number of recommendations designed to more effectively ensure, in future, respect for the international instruments and standards to which his mandate refers.
290. On 9 October 1990, a cable was sent to the Government of Israel stating that on 8 October 1990 on the Temple Mount of the Old City of Jerusalem, 22 persons had been killed when the police and armed Jewish civilians had opened fire on Palestinian demonstrators and bystanders. Although the police had reportedly claimed that a crowd of 2,000 Palestinians had thrown rocks and stones on Jews praying at the Western Wall and had attacked and burned a police station of the Temple Mount, it had been alleged that the Israeli authorities had resorted to an excessive use of force, including live ammunition, to regain control.
291. The Special Rapporteur, feeling concerned with the loss of lives in the incident, appealed to the Government of Israel to take all necessary measures in order to prevent further loss of lives in similar circumstances and requested information on the above-mentioned incident, the outcome of any investigation on the incident and the measures taken by the authorities to prevent the recurrence of such deaths.
292. On 1 November 1990, a letter was sent to the Government of Israel transmitting allegations that during the past year, numerous incidents of killings were reported in connection with the uprising in the occupied territories. It was stated that according to statistics released on 2 August 1990 by Betzelem, the Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, 676 Palestinians were shot and killed by security forces since the beginning of the uprising in December 1987 until the end of July 1990. They included 158 children under 16 years of age. In addition, 31 Palestinians were said to have been killed by Israeli civilians and 8 were shot and killed by Palestinian collaborators, whereas 10 Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers and 9 Israeli civilians, including 3 babies, were killed in the territories during the same period. At the same time there was reportedly an increase in the number of Palestinians killed by other Palestinians for suspected collaboration with the Israeli authorities. According to one source, the number of such killings during the same period was 243. These killings were said to be the results of the prolonged period of Israeli occupation and the unprecedented level of violence it has engendered and many of these deaths in the occupied territories were reported to have occurred during violent clashes between Palestinian protesters and she IDF. However, other persons were allegedly killed by IDF troops during house-to-house searches, at roadblocks, during pursuit after clashes, and in circumstances other than violent clashes.
293. Furthermore, it was alleged that these deaths occurred often in circumstances suggesting excessive use of force or deliberate killings. According to the Betzelem report in July 1990, in almost 50 per cent of the cases the IDF found that soldiers had violated cease-fire orders. The report cited statistics showing that soldiers were indicted for 12 incidents of killing by the end of December 1989. It was also alleged that investigation of killings by the IDF was almost all based exclusively on accounts by soldiers.
294. It was also stated that the reports of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories to the forty-fifth session of the General Assembly (A/45/84, A/45/306 and A/45/576) list 140 Incidents of killing by IDF troops and Israeli civilians for the period October 1989 10 August 1990.
295. The following describe some alleged cases in which troops used force in an excessive or Illegal manner:
(a) On 5 October 1989, in Bidu, near Jerusalem, Khaled Abu Id, aged 20, was shot in the heart from a distance of two metres when soldiers opened fire at youths manning a barricade;
(b) On 9 October 1989, in Nablus, Nidal al-Habash, aged 22, was killed by troops when masked youths defied a curfew and incited others to demonstrate. It was alleged that he was shot dead from a short distance, after he was wounded and could not escape, and that the troops prevented an ambulance from evacuating him;
(c) On 26 October 1989, in Jabaliya, Gaza, Adel Mahmud Abu Salim, aged 19, was killed by troops who opened fire at masked youths. It was alleged that four soldiers in civilian clothes had entered the camp in a civilian car and opened fire on the youths;
(d) On 26 October 1989, in Al-Khadar, Karim Da'amseh, aged 18, was killed by policemen during a car chase in Belt Jala after he failed to obey an order to stop. According to an eyewitness, a policeman shot Karim Da'amseh at point-blank range after he surrendered. The police reportedly opened an inquiry;
(e) On 6 November 1989, in Kalkilya, Wa'el al-Haj Hassan, aged 20, wag killed by troops as he was trying to cross the border into Jordan. He had been wanted by the security forces since the beginning of the uprising:
(f) On 1 December 1989, in Nablus, Imad Nasser, aged 26, Hanin Tayem, aged 19, and Omar Grafat, aged 28, were killed by a group of soldiers in civilian clothes who entered the casbah of Nablus and opened fire. Masu'd Labada Batiri, aged 15, a passer-by, was also killed;
(g) On 20 December 1989, in Gaza, Khaled Abd el Sheikh Alt,
27, died in the interrogation ward in the Gaza prison;
(h) On 7 January 1990, in Bethlehem, Fahdi Khalil Zabakli, aged 18, died in hospital of wounds sustained the previous month when border policemen shot him in the head while chasing masked youths. It was reported that a film of the incident showed that Fahdi Khalil Zabakli was shot as he was fleeing, without warning shots being fired;
(i) On 5 April 1990, in Jalazua camp, Mustafa al-Jaru, aged 15, was killed by troops who fired a rubber-coated steel pellet during a clash. It was alleged that he was shot by a sniper deliberately and without provocation, without warning or an order to halt;
(j) On 7 July 1990, at the Ofer detention camp near Ramallah, Sahri Abed Rabo, aged 18, was shot in the head and killed by troops when he was spotted climbing over the fence of his tent compound. The troops reportedly shouted warnings and fired in the air before firing at the detainee. The incident was said to be under investigation;
(k) On 10 August 1990, in Ya'abad, Basel Hamarsheh, aged 22, was shot in the head and killed by a soldier. He had been wanted for two years.
296. On 22 October 1990, a reply was received from the Government of Israel to the Special Rapporteur's cable of 9 October 1990 with regard to the events of 8 October 1990 on the Temple Mount, stating that a special committee of inquiry had been established to investigate the case.