Switzerland said Monday that Israel has been violating international law in its Gaza offensive by heavy destruction and endangering civilians in acts of collective punishment that are banned under the Geneva conventions on the conduct of warfare
"There is no doubt that has not taken the precautions required of it in international law to protect the civilian population and infrastructure," it said. It added that ‘s destruction last week of the main
The 1949 Conventions established in 1949 are regarded as the cornerstone of international law on the obligations of warring and of occupying powers. Both the principle of proportionality and the ban on collective punishment are found in the Fourth Geneva Convention, which spells out the obligations of occupying powers toward the civilian population under their control.
, as the depository of the conventions, has a responsibility to call meetings if it finds general problems with the implementation of the treaty, but it does not have any special powers to interpret the document. There was no indication from the Swiss government that they were planning to implement a meeting.
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel and Amnesty International, also cited the deliberate attacks by Israeli forces against civilian property and infrastructure in the Gaza Strip as being in violation of international humanitarian law and constitute war crimes.
As well, Amnesty International reminded the international community, of its obligation under the Geneva Conventions to act. The deliberate destruction of the Gaza Strip’s only electricity power station, water networks, bridges, roads and other infrastructure is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and has major and long-term humanitarian consequences for the 1.5 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip. According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, "collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited" (article 33) as is the destruction of private or public property, "except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations" (Article 53). The Convention requires all states party to it to search for and ensure the prosecution of perpetrators of the war crime of "causing extensive destruction … not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly". "Intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects" is also a war crime under Article 8 (b) (ii) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.