Question of Palestine home
Economic and Social Council
11 February 1970
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Item 5 of the provisional agenda
REPORT OF THE SPECIAL WORKING GROUP OF EXPERTS ESTABLISHED UNDER
RESOLUTION 6 (XXV) OF THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS (
Chapter IV. Conclusions
Chapter V. Recommendations
Chapter VI. Adoption of the report
1. Although the Special Working Group of Experts was not in a position to verify juridically the allegations which were received, the Group draws, from the evidence received by it, the conclusions set forth hereafter:
(a) The Special Working Group of Experts has applied the relevant provisions of the Convention in the light of its mandate as contained in resolution 6 (XXV). In addition, the Group is of the opinion that from a juridical point of view there appears to be no question as to the applicability of the Convention to all the occupied areas, including occupied Jerusalem.
(b) The Special Working Group has gathered evidence which is based on a variety of sources. The Group was unable to conduct its investigation in the occupied territories because of the refusal of Israel to recognize the Group and to co-operate with it. Also the Group did not receive directly in the course of its work any communications from the Government of Israel concerning allegations which the Group was mandated to investigate. The evidence received by the Group was one-sided. Nevertheless, the Group was able to make an evaluation of such evidence.
(c) The largest number of allegations concerning violations of the Geneva Convention relate mostly to the period immediately following the hostilities of June 1967. The Working Group does not have sufficient oral evidence to enable it to state with absolute certainty whether these alleged violations have continued with the same intensify since that period.
(d) (i) On the basis of certain evidence before it, the Special Working Group is of the opinion that there are violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention. In particular, this appears to be the case in so far as the occupying Power is interested in ensuring the collaboration of the civilian population even against its will. It appears that when the occupying Power considers that a person endangers the security of the State, according to certain witnesses, it seems that means of coercion are always applied to extract information and confessions contrary to the relevant provisions of the Convention. The following locations,
, have been mentioned as places where torture is alleged to have taken place: Nablus Prison, the Muscovite Prison in Jerusalem and the Gaza Prison.
(ii) In the circumstances in which the Group carried out its investigation, it was not in a position to verify these allegations juridically.
(e) Certain witnesses claimed that during the hostilities and immediately thereafter, in the Golan Heights and the West Bank areas, the Israeli forces has occasionally ill-treated and killed civilians without provocation.
(f) It appears to the Special Working Group that the vast majority of detainees are held in detention in virtue of administrative orders. It also appears that persons under administrative detention are deprived of any guarantee concerning the length of detention and fair trial.
(g) Certain witnesses stated that in some cases accused persons had not been informed in writing of the charges against them, that they had not been provided with counsel of their choice and that even when the latter condition had been fulfilled, counsel was prevented by the Israeli authorities from discharging their duties satisfactorily. However, the Group was not in a position to verify the truth of these allegations.
(h) The Group has heard several allegations concerning destruction of property, including destruction of houses and villages. The Group is of the opinion that total destruction of the villages of Yalu, Emwas, Beit Nuba, and the partial destruction of Qalquilyah, after the cease-fire in violation of the Convention are proven. The Group was not in a position to state whether the destruction of these villages was absolutely justified by military operations, in accordance with article 53 of the Convention.
(I) According to certain testimony, there was destruction of moveable and immoveable property; according to this same testimony, that destruction was not absolutely necessary because of military operations as provided for in article 53 of the Convention.
(j) Certain witnesses stated that looting took place. However, the occupying Power established a system to protect abandoned property. The Group is not in a position to evaluate the effectiveness of that system.
(k) It appears that in the occupied part of Jerusalem the civilian population, consistent with its policy of non-co-operation, adopted a political attitude towards the system of expropriation established by the occupying Power and refused to accept the compensation which, according to some witnesses, had been offered by the occupation authorities.
(1) Parts of the rural population have been transferred from their homes. Intellectuals (judges, barristers, advocates, doctors, teachers, religious leaders) are expelled or transferred by individual orders unless they collaborate with the occupying Power or because they take an attitude of passive resistance.
(m) The occupying Power has assumed full governmental powers in the occupied territories. In occupied Jerusalem it has abrogated the former law completely; in the other occupied areas, in addition to the penal law system in force before occupation, a special penal law system of the Israel Defence Forces is established. Criminal courts have been replaced by military courts (see chapter II).
(n) There is no evidence to indicate that the occupation authorities are implementing Part IV of the Convention. On the contrary, article 35 of the Security Instructions which contained a specific reference to the application of the Geneva Convention is - at least in respect of the West Bank - abrogated. Furthermore - as reported by the International Committee of the Red Cross - Israeli authorities expressed the view that the question of the applicability of the Geneve Convention should be left open. In the testimonies and communications received, no case is reported of Israeli officials being held responsible for alleged violations of the Convention.
2. Whereas the Government of Israel has stated that the applicability of the Convention should be left open, the Group wishes that the occupying Power would now commence to apply the Convention. Attempts at compelling, as distinct from exhorting, the inhabitants of the occupied territories to collaborate with the Israeli authorities, should cease immediately.
3. The provisions for implementation of the Geneva Convention should be carried out.
4. All reported instances of torture, looting and pillage should be immediately investigated by the occupying authorities, and those found responsible suitably punished.
5. Matters concerning the detention of civilians, in particular administrative detention, require special attention, as well as the extent to which the treatment of such detainees conforms to the provisions of the Convention, in particular section IV of Part III of the Convention.
6. Deported or transferred persons should be permitted to return to their former residence without any formalities the fulfilment of which would render return impossible in fact. The repatriation should be supervised by United Nations organs.
7. Persons detained on grounds of security, in accordance with article 5 of the Convention, should be brought to trial at an early date in accordance with articles 71, 72 and 73 of the Convention.
8. The Israeli authorities should investigate, wherever possible, allegations reported by the Working Group, in particular, the allegations of torture concerning Mrs. Abla Tahha, Miss Lutfia El-Haware, Mr. Yahha El Qatrash and Mr. Mohammed Derbas.
9. The occupying Power should refrain from demolishing houses for reasons which are not provided for in the Geneva Convention. The occupying Power should investigate all cases of demolished houses mentioned in this report and should grant adequate compensation in all cases of demolition in violation of the Convention.
10. Property confiscated or otherwise taken away from its owner by the occupation authorities in a manner inconsistent with the Convention should be restored in accordance with the Convention.
ADOPTION OF THE REPORT
The present report was approved and signed by the members of the Special Working Group of Experts, as follows:
Mr. Ibrahim Boye, Chairman-Rapporteur
Mr. Branimir Jankovic, Vice-Chairman
Mr. Felix Ermacora
Mr. N.N. Jha
Mr. Luis Marchand-Stens1
Mr. Waldo Emerson Waldron-Ramsey
/ Mr. L. Marchand-Stens was absent, owing to reasons of health.