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.
Speaking on board the papal plane on his way back from a two-day visit to Egypt, the pontiff said there was a need for "negotiations with a view to a diplomatic solution".
The tragedy occurred Thursday, when the six-story building came crashing down for reasons that are being investigated, the Red Cross said.
Critics are marking the milestone by lambasting his struggle to convert campaign promises into tangible achievements, which his supporters blame on obstruction by his opponents.
"I think the general picture is that we are on target to have a conclusion on May 22," Tsipras said in Brussels, referring to a scheduled meeting of eurozone finance ministers needed to approve the deal.
EU President Donald Tusk made the announcement to 27 European Union leaders holding a special meeting -- without Britain -- on Brexit, Merkel told reporters.
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Judge Kristine Baker of the US Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas issued the order late Friday, less than 24 hours after the state executed the 38-year-old convicted multiple murderer Kenneth Williams.
"He slipped, he was injured and briefly hospitalised and will not join us this afternoon," said Massimo Mallegni, mayor of Pietrasanta.
In a bruising contest against pro-European centrist Emmanuel Macron, Le Pen is hoping to broaden her base wide enough to win the decisive second-round election, despite polls suggesting she is 20 points behind.
The 27 leaders quickly agreed on the negotiating guidelines as they met without Britain for the first time since Prime Minister Theresa May triggered the divorce process a month ago.
Abe met with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, assuring her that he "continued to trust the UK economy after separation from the European Union," he told a press conference in London on Saturday.
Orban was summoned to a meeting with top officials from the European People's Party (EPP) over the law that could force the closure of a Budapest university founded by US billionaire George Soros.
"There will inevitably be a price and a cost for Britain, it's the choice they made," Hollande said as he arrived at a Brussels summit.
Turkish General Staff says more than 90 terrorists also injured in operations in northern Iraq, northeastern Syria
Opponents started rallying on April 1 against moves to strengthen his hold on power, hoping they would be a tipping point in the economic and political crisis.
"We need to remain united as the EU 27. It is only then that we will be able to conclude the negotiations, which means that our unity is also in the UK's interest," Tusk told reporters.