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 Saudi ambassador has accused Iran-affiliated Iraqi Shia militias of plotting to assassinate him
"The talks with the US have de facto failed because we Europeans of course must not succumb to American demands," he told public broadcaster ZDF. "Nothing is moving forward."
President Muhammadu Buhari indicates Nigeria is willing to talk to rebels over kidnapped Chibok girls
Iraqi forces have been battling ISIL militants in an attempt to retake territory captured by the terror group
Head of miners federation that called strike last month, 2 top officials among detained
Former economy minister says Brazilian president did nothing Illegal
Haider al-Abadi says Khalidiya town cleared of terror group as army plans push to retake Mosul
Authorities suspect attack carried out by Paraguayan People's Army guerrilla group
An Israeli army commander has made shocking threats to Palestinian youth held in the Al-Duheisha, threatening that he will “make all the youth of the camp disabled,” according to a Palestinian rights group, reported by the Middle East Monitor
Hillary Clinton has received the first classified intelligence briefing Saturday morning
Japan has pledged to give $30 billion as an investment to Africa by 2018
Egyptian authorities to reopen Rafah crossing on Tuesday for three consecutive days
Incumbent President Ali Bongo faces stiff competition from former African Union Commission
Spanish authorities have cracked down on an illegal ring that involves Chinese domestic staff
Scots drive to put Israel's West Bank wall on the Google Map as fall-out from Celtic fans Palestinian flag protest simmers
Turkish president expresses sadness in call to Italian counterpart, extends his condolences to the families of victims killed in early Wednesday earthquake with a mass funeral is held today for 34 of the 284 people killed