World Bulletin / News Desk
A U.N. investigator condemned an Israeli court on Thursday for clearing the military of blame for the killing of American activist crushed by an army bulldozer, calling it a "victory for impunity".
The ruling handed down on Tuesday on the civil suit brought by the family of Rachel Corrie was part of a pattern of decisions exonerating Israeli military actions and political leaders, said Richard Falk, United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories.
"The judge's decision represents a defeat for justice and accountability, and a victory for impunity for the Israeli military," Falk said in a statement issued in Geneva.
Corrie's family accused Israel of intentionally and unlawfully killing their 23-year-old daughter in March 2003, launching a civil case in the northern city of Haifa after a military investigation found the army was not responsible.
Corrie had joined activists trying to stop the Israeli army from demolishing Palestinian homes in the southern Gaza town of Rafah during a Palestinian uprising. The family has said it will appeal the ruling.
Judge Oded Gershon invoked a clause that absolved the army because the incident had happened during a wartime situation.
But Falk said that the decision "flies directly in the face of the Geneva Conventions, which impose on an occupying power an unconditional obligation to protect the civilian population".
As an aid worker, Corrie was entitled to protection by occupying forces and the house demolition appeared to violate the pact's prohibition on targeting civilian property, he said.
"This is a sad outcome, above all for the Corrie family ... but also for the rule of law and the hope that an Israeli court would place limits on the violence of the state, particularly in relation to innocent and unarmed civilians in an occupied territory," he said.
Falk, an American expert on international law serving as an independent U.N. expert since 2008, is a vocal critic of Israel, accusing it of crimes against humanity for its blockade of Gaza.
Falk, who is Jewish, was detained and turned back from Israel in 2008, forcing him to abort a planned mission to Gaza - a deportation denounced by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The men were arrested during a police raid which saw 24 individuals arrested earlier this month after they were accused of plotting to take over St Mark’s Square in Venice.
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Its presence was noteworthy as the United States and Iran have been at loggerheads for decades and Iran is subject to certain economic sanctions.
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Another strong earthquake hits Solomon islands in the Pacific Ocean.
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Ukraine's government, short of effective forces, has shown little sign of trying to recapture the dozen or so town halls, police stations and other sites seized over the past two weeks, despite proclaiming the launch of an "anti-terrorist operation".
Speaking at a press conference in western Cairo on Saturday, Mortada Mansour said that he would throw his weight behind former army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi's bid to run for Egypt's president.
Former head of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, Mustafa Jemilev, who is now a Ukrainian lawmaker based in Kiev, feared that he would not be allowed to enter Crimea after Russia produced a blacklist of individuals barred from the peninsula.
The Interior Ministry said on its Twitter account the explosion was in the village of al-Maqshaa', along the Budayya highway, outside of the capital Manama.
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"The government [of North Sudan] has a lot of blood on its hands," Jehanne Henry, HRW's representative in South and North Sudan said.
James Mitchell, a retired air force psychologist, was the mastermind behind the program which used methods amounting to torture to extract information from suspected terrorists, including water-boarding, stress positions and sleep deprivation.
Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera, who attended a ceremony on Yonaguni island to mark the start of construction, suggested the military presence could be enlarged to other islands in the seas southwest of Japan's main islands.