Following claims of alleged war crimes by Russian military forces against residents in Bucha, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Agnès Callamard, said:
“These accounts from Bucha reveal a larger pattern of war crimes in other occupied parts of Ukraine, including extrajudicial murders and torture.”
United Nations fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict discovered evidence that Israeli forces committed significant war crimes and violations of humanitarian law, which could amount to crimes against humanity.
“To date, Amnesty International has gathered evidence of civilians killed in Ukraine by indiscriminate attacks in Kharkiv and Sumy Oblasts, documented an airstrike in Chernihiv that killed civilians queuing for food, and gathered evidence from civilians living under siege in Kharkiv, Izium, and Mariupol.”
The United Governments has joined the call for a probe and potential accountability, despite then Secretary General Ban Ki-usual moon’s caution in offending sovereign states, particularly those affiliated with the UN’s most powerful member. To understand the significance of these events, it’s vital to understand what set the 22-day assault on Gaza unique from Israel’s many previous uses of force to protect its security and strategic objectives. What distinguished the Gaza attacks on December 27th, From Israel’s other major battles was that the weapons and methods utilized wreaked havoc on an entirely defenseless civilian population. The one-sidedness of the encounter was so stark, as signalled by the relative casualties on both sides (more than 100 to 1; 1300-plus Palestinians killed compared with 13 Israelis, and several of these by shots on head, that most commentators refrained from attaching the label “war”.
Disproportionate and reckless strikes by Israeli forces killed 242 Palestinians in Gaza. Unlawful attacks by Israel included targeted strikes on medical facilities and personnel. Israel maintained its illegal blockade on the Gaza Strip, inflicting collective punishment on residents and exacerbating the humanitarian crisis there, and Palestinians’ freedom of movement was arbitrarily restricted in the West Bank. Israeli authorities subjected Palestinians to forced evictions, arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment, all committed with almost total impunity. Israel’s discriminatory system of governing Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) constituted apartheid, a crime under international law.
“We have accumulated information in recent weeks that Russian forces have carried out extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings, which must be investigated as potential war crimes,” said Amnesty International Secretary General Agnès Callamard.
The proportion of instances involving Palestinian citizens of Israel was 25 times higher than those involving Jewish residents of Israel, who make up around 80% of the population. Civilians killed 110 Palestinian inhabitants of Israel in 2021, according to the NGO Aman, the greatest number in decades.
In the OPT, the housing ministry encouraged proposals for illegal colonies to be built south-west of Bethlehem, east of Jerusalem, and south of Ramallah.
“Unarmed citizens in Ukraine are being slain in their homes and streets in acts of terrible cruelty and appalling brutality, according to eyewitness testimony. “The intentional killing of civilians constitutes a human rights violation and a war crime. These fatalities must be fully investigated, and anyone involved, especially those further up the chain of command, must be penalized.
Medical facilities were attacked by Israeli rockets, killing medical professionals. Dr. Ayman Abu al-Ouf, director of the Covid-19 response and head of internal medicine at Al-Shifa hospital, Gaza’s major hospital; Dr. Mooein al-Aloul, a mental neurologist; and at least 33 other civilians were killed in unprovoked assaults on the al-Wehda district of Gaza City on May 16.
According to the UN OCHA-OPT, Israeli forces killed 75 Palestinians and injured 14,679 others throughout the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, some during arrests in Palestinian homes and others during protests primarily against Jewish Israeli settler activity.
Israel launched the Gaza campaign without a solid legal base or justification, and it bears responsibility for the vast majority of the destruction and civilian suffering. Israeli dependence on a military strategy to defeat or punish Gaza was inherently “criminal,” demonstrating both violations of international law and the conduct of crimes against humanity. There’s one more thing that supports the accusation of aggression. When Israel launched its attacks on Gaza, the people had been subjected to a harsh siege for 18 months. This embargo was widely considered as collective punishment in a way that violated Articles 33 and 55 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which govern an occupying power’s actions in connection to a civilian population.
This policy has been called a crime against humanity and a serious violation of international humanitarian law. It had also resulted in severe nutritional shortages and extensive mental illnesses among Gaza’s whole population, making it particularly vulnerable to Israel’s “shock and awe” attacks from land, air, and sea. Israel’s refusal to allow Gaza people to seek safety while the small Strip was under such tremendous combat strain exacerbated this vulnerability. Two hundred non-Palestinian wives were allowed to go, emphasizing the criminality of incarcerating children, women, the sick, aged, and incapacitated in a conflict zone, as well as its ethnically discriminatory nature. This looks to be the first time this has happened during a war.
Aside from these broad difficulties, Israeli battlefield practices have been linked to a number of suspected war crimes. These allegations, which are based on information gathered by human rights organizations, include IDF fire at a range of civilian targets, incidents where Israeli military personnel denied medical help to wounded Palestinians, and others where ambulances were unable to reach their destinations. There have also been reports of Israeli soldiers firing at women and children carrying white flags on 20 separate occasions. There have also been claims of phosphorous bombs being used in Gaza’s residential neighborhoods, as well as legal concerns concerning the deployment of a new brutal weapon called as DIME, which bursts with such intensity that it rips body parts apart.
These war crimes concerns can only be resolved by factual clarifications as to whether a basis exists for possible prosecution of the perpetrators, and commanders and political leaders to the extent that criminal tactics and weaponry were authorised as matters of Israeli policy.
Palestine and Ukraine both suffer human rights breaches and war crimes include deliberate killings of civilians, rape, torture, and brutal treatment of prisoners of war. Direct perpetrators of war crimes should be held criminally accountable. Under the doctrine of command responsibility, hierarchical superiors including commanders and civilian leaders such a s ministers and heads of state who knew or had reason to know about war crimes committed by their forces but did not intervene or punish those responsible should be held criminally liable. If there are any crimes against civilians, it should be dealt with strict action by nations of the world without age, color, religion and region in consideration. All nations must understand, it could be them anytime.
The question of whether criticism of Israel or Russian war crimes is just that is instantly raised. Is it possible that the allegations will be followed up on with adequate procedures to establish accountability? There are a number of potentially useful strategies for enforcing accountability, but will any of them be practical?