Reuters. 22 April 2002. Amnesty accuses Israel of Jenin war crimes.

LONDON -- Amnesty International accused Israel on Monday of serious
human rights abuses during its occupation of the Palestinian refugee
camp in Jenin and pressed for a full investigation to see if they
amounted to war crimes.

Basing its allegations on statements from Palestinians and what it said
was evidence from its own observers who entered the West Bank town
minutes after the Israeli withdrawal, Amnesty said it had clear evidence
of serious crimes.

"We have concluded, on a preliminary basis, that very serious violations
of human rights were committed. We are talking here (about) war crimes,"
Javier Zuniga, the human rights group's regional director, told a news

"We believe that Israel has a case to answer."

Kathleen Cavanaugh, a law lecturer from Galway University in Ireland,
said Amnesty's charges came under three major areas: the destruction of
property, the use of excessive force and its failure to protect civilian
refugees living in the town.

She also cited Palestinian witness statements suggesting the army had
carried out "a number of extrajudicial executions, particularly at the
early stages of its incursion."

Old people and children caught up in the fighting said they had also
been given no chance to flee the scenes of the battle, Cavanaugh said.

Forensic pathologist Derrick Pounder from Dundee University in Scotland,
who had just returned from Jenin, said the lack of severely injured
people admitted to the hospital backed claims that Palestinian doctors
and ambulance men had been impeded.

"There were no severely injured in the hospital, and very few corpses.
It is inconceivable that, as well as the dead, there were not large
numbers of severely injured," said Pounder, who estimated a conflict of
this nature and intensity would have produced roughly three badly
injured victims to every one dead.

He said he saw 21 Palestinians corpses in Jenin hospital. The casualties
were a mixture of civilian and military, he said, and included three

One was a 52-year-old man, wearing sandals, who had been shot in the
chest, and another 38-year-old, wearing ordinary clothes, had been shot
in the back and the top of the foot.

"The claim that only fighters were killed is simply not true," Pounder

"In Jenin, there have certainly been mass killings -- both of combatants
and civilians."

Pounder said the refugee camp should now be treated as a crime scene,
and a full international team of investigators similar to The Hague
Tribunal for former Yugoslavia be allowed in to try and piece together
exactly what happened.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Barry Stoller


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