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Children of Gaza = UN War Crimes
teamjij
Monday 07/03/2022

Jerusalem Institute of Justice- Submission to The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East  Jerusalem, and Israel

 

Dear Honorable Commission,

We, the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, are a not-for-profit human rights organization, with Special Consultative Status at the UN Economic and Social Council, fighting to promote human rights, defend democracy, and improve the overall quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians alike. Due to our hope of ever-lasting peace in the region, we find it of the utmost importance to address your call for submissions of relevant information and documentation to the mandate of the Commission.

The attached report concerning Hamas’s war crimes was filed by our organization at the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on the 13th of September 2018. We argued that a full investigation of crimes committed within the Palestinian territories should be pursued, and a case should be lodged, against Ismail Haniyeh, head of the political wing of Hamas, for his role in the commission of war crimes through the recruitment, enlistment and use of children below the age of 15 to participate directly in hostilities in an armed conflict. Following this communication, and others, an investigation of the “Situation in Palestine” was commenced by the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC on the 3rd of March 2021. The submission of this report is in accordance with the COI’s mandate to collect evidence and information of abuses of international human rights law and identify those responsible.

As a senior leader of Hamas for many years, Haniyeh has played a pivotal role in the exploitation of the most vulnerable in society, the children of Gaza. Not only did Haniyeh fail to prevent war crimes against children committed by Hamas operatives, he has actively encouraged the indoctrination from an early age and recruitment of child soldiers to bolster the Hamas military and paramilitary forces. Firstly, as the de facto and subsequently the de jure leader of Hamas, Haniyeh knew of and was in a position to prevent the enlistment of children as active participants in hostilities, but failed to do so. Secondly, and even more egregiously, Haniyeh was an active proponent of the conscription through his attendance of graduation ceremonies for military training camps aimed at recruiting children, and giving numerous speeches in which he advocated children joining the military struggle against Israel.

The use of children under 15 to participate in armed conflict is also considered a criminal activity pursuant to Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

We urge the commission to look into these violations of Human Rights committed by Hamas and include them in their report due to be presented in the Human Rights Council’s June regular session.

Yours sincerely,

Flavia Sevald, CEO,

Jerusalem Institute of Justice,

 

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