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.
Anti-Semitism has remained a big problem in Hungary, home to one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe.
20,730 foreign fighters, including about 11,000 people from the Middle East, went to Iraq and Syria.
Unemployment is major challenge for Sisi, thousands seek jobs in Libya despite violence and chaos.
Until now, Israel has denied the deaths and injuries.
After the tropical storm Madagascar's government appealed for international aid.
Kathrin Oertel also stepped down, citing media pressure.
After U.S. bans first choice, Iran names new U.N. ambassador as Gholamali Khoshroo.
Under the new Saudi king, relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran are expected to remain unchanged as their rivalry in the Middle East region continues, say experts.
Natives of the war-torn Syrian city are impatiently waiting to return their old homes but realities on the ground could prevent them from leaving immediately.
Prolonged process of setting up an Afghan Cabinet continues after parliament rejects president's choices.
Israeli FM said Israel should be responded to harshly and disproportionately, just as China or the U.S. would in similar circumstances.
Belgian politician likens government's plans to revoke foreign fighter citizenship to methods used by Nazis.
NGOs detail failures of criminal justice system in dealing with children.
For the United States the new year brought a shift in the scales of power in Washington.
Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) was holding the Bulgarians captive.
The agreement includes a defense pact between Russia and Abkhazia that obligates both sides to come to each other's aid in the event of aggression.