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UN investigators said Thursday they were gathering evidence that could potentially be used in future prosecutions of those involved in Israel’s expulsion of a French-Palestinian human rights lawyer. online news
A high-level team of United Nations investigators said it was preserving a list of possible perpetrators behind Salah Hamouri’s forced deportation, including the El-Al airline used for the expulsion and its staff.
The 38-year-old was long held without charge in Israel on accusations that he was a member of the Marxist-rooted Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), considered a terrorist organisation by the United States and European Union.
Hamouri, who denied that claim and has maintained his innocence in a slew of cases, was expelled after his East Jerusalem residency permit was revoked for an alleged “breach of allegiance” to Israel, in a move immediately decried by the UN rights office as a “war crime”.
The UN Commission of Inquiry on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) confirmed in a report published Thursday that his expulsion was “a grave breach of international humanitarian law”.
“We have no doubt that the revocation of Salah Hamouri’s East Jerusalem residency permit based on an alleged ‘breach of allegiance’ to the State of Israel constitutes a war crime,” Chris Sidoti, one of the three commissioners, said in a statement.
“Demanding allegiance from protected people in occupied territory is a reprehensible violation of international humanitarian law.”
In the commission’s second report to the UN Human Rights Council since it was established in 2021, it said it had “preserved, on a list of possible perpetrators, information about the individuals who may bear criminal responsibility.”
“The commission notes that Mr. Hamouri’s deportation also raises the question of whether individuals within El-Al airlines had knowledge of his unlawful deportation and so may have committed the war crime of aiding, abetting or otherwise assisting in the commission of a war crime,” the report said.
“The commission intends to explore further the criminal responsibility of all those involved in the forcible deportation.”
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