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.
Latest waves of migrants to Europe have made people worry over endless flows of 'guests'
Because of its good economic health, Germany has become the leading destination in Europe for migrants
Hundreds of delegates from around the world gathered in Ankara's Bilkent Plaza
Senior UN agency official Vincent Cochetel has termed the situation for migrants on Greek islands as 'embarrassing'
Research shows the number of millionaires in Africa has more than doubled since 2000
UN Security Council gives ‘unique support’ to Cypriot leaders, says envoy
A charity fashion bazaar sets the change in stereotype of Russia's Muslim population. Moscow has Russia's largest Muslim population of 1.5 mn Muslims, making it Europe's largest Muslim city.
Clinton's call to end the US embargo on Cuba makes her fall in line with US President Barack Obama.
Àmama Mbabazi was sacked from his prime ministerial post last year in an evolving power struggle and has been one of the country's most popular and skilled politicians.
Clashes come against backdrop of Palestinian baby’s murder near Nablus
A source close to the European Commission has said that the Southern Gas Corridor could provide a diverse market for Azeribaijan's gas market.
Political functions and watchdog role of EU’s executive arm needs rebalancing, Berlin argues
A British inquiry has been told by Alexander Litvinenko's widow that Russian President Putin had persoally ordered the death of her husband
Iraqi forces retaken several areas west of Ramadi that had fallen into the hands of ISIL.
Japanese Isuzu company has obtained 8 percent in Samarkand Automobile factory LLC
Second World Crimean Tatars Congress to be held in Ankara