UN slams Israel for ‘apparent extrajudicial execution’ of wounded Palestinian

israelGeneva (IINA) – The United Nations said on Wednesday that footage purporting to show the shooting of a wounded Palestinian by an Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank last Thursday showed clear “signs of extra-judicial execution”, media agencies reported.

“We are extremely concerned about the apparent extrajudicial execution of a Palestinian man,” spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) Rupert Colville said in a statement regarding the killing of a Palestinian man in Hebron.

“Two Palestinian men allegedly stabbed and wounded an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron on Thursday morning, and were both shot during the attack. A video later emerged appearing to show one of the alleged Palestinian assailants, subsequently identified as Abd al-Fatah al-Sharif, lying injured but still alive on the ground. Medical staff were shown attending to the wounded soldier, who was driven away in an ambulance, but did not appear to offer any medical assistance to al-Sharif,” Colville said.

“The video then shows an Israeli soldier shooting al-Sharif in the head, killing him. What is particularly chilling is the way none of the 20 or so people at the scene, including medical personnel, appear to pay any attention to the wounded man while he was still alive, and also barely show any reaction in the immediate aftermath of his killing,” he added.

Noting that Israeli authorities had detained the soldier involved in the shooting and a military court has been questioning him, Colville said “A prompt, thorough, transparent and independent investigation is essential”.

“We are concerned this killing may not be a lone incident; a disturbing number of Palestinians, reportedly more than 130 in all, have been killed in recent months,” he said.

“This is not the first incident to be captured on video that raises concerns of excessive use of force. A major concern is that such cases appear not to have been systematically subjected to criminal investigations. This is particularly important in cases that may have involved disproportionate use of force, or possible extra-judicial executions,” Colville said.

UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Christof Heyns said on Wednesday that the killing of a Palestinian man by an Israeli soldier on 24 March in Hebron, West Bank, carried “all the signs of a clear case of an extrajudicial execution”.

“The images shown carry all the signs of a clear case of an extrajudicial execution,” said Heyns. “There does not appear to be any provocation on the side of the gravely wounded man”.

“Whatever legal regime one applies to the case, shooting someone who is no longer a threat is murder. It is furthermore troublesome that this was done to no apparent alarm to the other soldiers who were nearby,” Heyns said.

The UN rapporteur also criticized the decision of the medical personnel on the scene to ignore al-Sharif and treat only the seemingly lightly injured Israeli soldier. “Part of protecting the right to life is accountability where it has been violated,” Heyns added.

More than 205 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops since a months-long wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence began last October, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

On its part, Israel said that 33 Israelis have been killed over the same period in alleged attacks by Palestinians.


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