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August 21, 2014 2:21 am
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HRW’s Ken Roth Explicitly Supports Hamas War Crimes

avatar by Elder of Ziyon

Ken Roth Twitter post. Photo: Twitter.

Ken Roth, of Human Rights Watch, recently tweeted this:

“Can you tell if Hamas tunnel used to attack/capture combatant (IHL allows) or take hostage/attack civilian (illegal)?”

As I have pointed out before, the Geneva Conventions explicitly and without reservation considers hostage taking to be against international law. No distinction whatsoever between whether the victim is civilian or a soldier.

The ICRC elaborates:

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Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions prohibits the taking of hostages.[ It is also prohibited by the Fourth Geneva Convention and is considered a grave breach thereof.…[I]n addition to the provisions in the Geneva Conventions, practice since then shows that the prohibition of hostage-taking is now firmly entrenched in customary international law and is considered a war crime.

The prohibition of hostage-taking is recognized as a fundamental guarantee for civilians and persons hors de combat in Additional Protocols I and II. Under the Statute of the International Criminal Court, the “taking of hostages” constitutes a war crime in both international and non-international armed conflicts. Hostage-taking is also listed as a war crime under the Statutes of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda and of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Numerous military manuals prohibit the taking of hostages. This prohibition is also set forth in the legislation of numerous States.

The International Convention against the Taking of Hostages defines the offence as the seizure or detention of a person (the hostage), combined with threatening to kill, to injure or to continue to detain the hostage, in order to compel a third party to do or to abstain from doing any act as an explicit or implicit condition for the release of the hostage. The Elements of Crimes for the International Criminal Court uses the same definition but adds that the required behaviour of the third party could be a condition not only for the release of the hostage but also for the safety of the hostage. It is the specific intent that characterizes hostage-taking and distinguishes it from the deprivation of someone’s liberty as an administrative or judicial measure.

Although the prohibition of hostage-taking is specified in the Fourth Geneva Convention and is typically associated with the holding of civilians as hostages, there is no indication that the offence is limited to taking civilians hostage. Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, the Statute of the International Criminal Court and the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages do not limit the offence to the taking of civilians, but apply it to the taking of any person. Indeed, in the Elements of Crimes for the International Criminal Court, the definition applies to the taking of any person protected by the Geneva Conventions.

This is as clear as international law gets.

The very thought of a supposed human rights defender publicly renouncing international humanitarian law, defending a war crime and denying the human rights of Israelis is scandalous.

Ken Roth has proven, irrevocably, that he is unqualified for this position. He is actively campaigning against human rights. His stated position is simply immoral. His bias is clear to all. He has singlehandedly turned Human Rights Watch into a punchline.

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