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HRW: Israel use of force in Gaza may be war crime

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said [press release] Wednesday that Israel's use of deadly force in Gaza Strip "may amount of war crimes."

HRW reports that between March 30 and June 8, the Israeli government used lethal force against Palestinian protesters, although the protesters provided "no imminent threat to life." According to the report, 118 people were killed during the protests, and 3,895 had injures requiring hospitalization.

"International human rights law standards on the use of force, which apply to law enforcement situations such as the Gaza protests, permit the use of live ammunition only as a last resort to prevent the imminent threat of death or serious injury," said HRW. The organization also said that Palestinians are an occupied people, so "that any wilful killing of them" would violate the Geneva Convention.

HRW called on the UN to investigate which Israeli officers authorized the lethal force and hold them accountable. It called on the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into the alleged crimes and for countries to impose targeted sanctions against the individuals who authorized the use of force.

In May the UN human rights council voted [JURIST report] to investigate Israel for alleged human rights violations in Gaza. The next day Palestine submitted [JURIST report] a referral to the ICC to investigate the alleged crimes.

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