The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel and Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, released, today, a special report ‘Exposed’ which discusses violations of detainee rights during ‘Cast Lead’.The report relies on a significant number of testimonies given to PCATI and Adalah attorneys, most of the civilian detainees who were arrested by the Israeli army and interrogated in Israel.
The testimonies provide give rise to a series claim that the Israeli Army systematically and deliberately violated their basic rights while disregarding domestic and international law.
Among its primary findings:
1. The State of Israel failed in it its international & domestic legal obligation to provide information regarding place of detention to detainee family members without delay to families of the detainees and to organizations dealing with detainees. Not only were detainee families harmed by this dereliction also the ability to monitor detention conditions and the application of detainee rights was harmed.
2. The detainees were held in wretched conditions. They were held in ditches and in cold and dark cells while be denied minimally appropriate nutrition and sanitary needs. This treatment forms the basis for the torture and ill treatment that many of the detainees experienced at various stages of their detention. These conditions allowed the army to break the spirit and to humiliate the detainees in addition to the violence that they suffered during interrogation.
3. The testimonies revealed that the army systematically used the Gaz residets as human shields in order to protect the soldiers while engaged in military activity, within the strip and for many days and even up to 10 days in some instances. At times the civilians were forced to go into homes ahead of the soldiers, to march next to the soldiers to shield them from gun fire.
4. Israel established a legal category for detainees, ‘unlawful combatant’ which is unrecognized in international law. This special status allowed Israel to deprive the detainees of prisoner of war status and the conditions and rights that go with it while, at the same time, denying them the status and rights of protected civilians.
The report’s conclusion, a number of recommendations connected to detainee rights, are made in order to prevent such a travesty of rights violations in the future. Among the recommendations is a call for the establishment of a governmental investigative committee that abides by international standards in order to investigate the violations of ‘Cast Lead’ and to put on trial those suspected of committing of fences.
In addition the report recommends the establishment of standards for treatment of detainees, and to establish an efficient monitoring mechanism and to cancel the unlawful combatants law.
The Report (English)