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Following 13 Years of Legal Pursuit, PCHR Succeeds in Ensuring Remedy for the Family of Civilian Willfully Killed by Israeli Forces

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)

June 11, 2014

Ref: 61/2014

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) has succeeded in ensuring remedy for the family of 'Ahed al-Telbani, from al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, who was killed by the Israeli forces 13 years ago. Following years of legal work and persistent follow-up, a settlement was concluded with the Israeli Military Advocate General’s representatives to pay 175,000 NIS for the heirs of the aforementioned civilian in exchange for closing the case. Procedures to deliver this amount to the family are now in process.

On 31 January 2001, Israeli forces stationed at al-Shuhadaa’ intersection "previously called Netzarim", south of Gaza City, opened fire at a cap belonging to al-Telbani from a very close range while he was passing the intersection. As a result, he was killed.

On 07 February 2001, PCHR followed up the case after being given a power of attorney by the family of the victim, who is married and a father of 8 children. PCHR submitted complaints to each of the Israeli Military Advocate General and the Israeli Ministry of Defense to take the necessary legal action to hold the perpetrators accountable for willfully killing al-Telbani. In 2004, PCHR filed a case before the District Court of al-Gedera on behalf of the heirs of al-Telbani. Over the past years, the lawyers at PCHR’s Legal Unit followed up the case until the Court decided on 15 February 2010 to dismiss the proceedings. Eyewitness were not able to give their testimonies before the court as the Israeli authorities refused to give them necessary permits to pass via Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing to attend the court's sessions.

On 31 December 2010, PCHR appealed the court’s decision and managed to get the case back on the court roll as the court accepted the affidavits of the eyewitnesses instead of their testimonies in person before the court.

Several court hearings in the case were held over the past years, during which PCHR supported its claim by evidences confirming the Israeli forces’ responsibility for al-Telbani’s death in circumstances that did not require the use of weapons. According to eyewitnesses, the area then did not witness any clashes and passing through the intersection was permitted. This means that the Israeli forces willfully killed al-Telbani in a blatant violation of the most basic concepts of humanity, domestic laws and international human rights instruments.

This is not the first time that PCHR achieves success in regard to efforts to prosecute war criminals via Israeli courts. PCHR had achieved other successes in this field, the latest of which was in October 2013, when PCHR succeeded in ensuring a compensation of 498,000 NIS for the families of 3 Palestinian children, who were killed by Israeli forces in 2001, i.e. around 166,000 NIS for each family.

In this context, PCHR emphasizes two facts. First, PCHR’s lawyers have exerted extraordinary efforts for long years to achieve these results and that way to access to justice, even though in regards to a limited number of cases, is difficult and painstaking and requires abnormal efforts. Second, these successes by all standards and criteria are limited ones and only for exceptional cases as thousands of cases, which PCHR filed on behalf of the Palestinian victims, have not been settled yet or were dismissed due to the issuance of military orders, amendments to the legislations or decisions taken by judges while considering the cases.

PCHR will continue its efforts to prosecute suspected Israeli war criminals before Israeli courts, or national courts of other countries based on the principle of universal jurisdiction to ensure that Israeli war criminals do not evade justice, and to ensure remedy for thousands of Palestinian civilians who have been affected by Israeli practices and crimes.

:: Article nr. 107692 sent on 18-jun-2014 20:02 ECT


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