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May 28, 2015 1:52 pm

Amnesty International Concerned With Hamas’ Criminal Justice System

avatar by Anav Silverman / Tazpit News Agency

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A Hamas fighter. Photo: Wikipedia.

The global human rights organization Amnesty International released a report on May 26, detailing Hamas abuses against Palestinians during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge last summer. According to the report, Hamas tortured, abducted, and assaulted Fatah members and former PA security forces in Gaza under the cover of the conflict.

Some victims died as a result of the abuse, while others were placed under house arrest in Gaza. In addition, alleged Israeli ‘collaborators’ were shot, including the infamous incident in which six men were executed by Hamas outside a mosque in front of hundreds of people – including children – on August 22, 2014.

“The torture and summary killing of people in captivity – including suspected ‘informers’ or ‘collaborators’ – are, when committed in the context of armed conflict, serious violations of international humanitarian law, constituting war crimes,” Amnesty International asserted in the report.

The report states that at least 23 people accused of assisting Israel were executed.

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Furthermore, Hamas forces utilized areas of Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital that were abandoned to interrogate and torture suspects, including the outpatients’ clinic area, while other parts of the hospital continued to function as a medical center.

While Hamas denies targeting or attacking Fatah members, news media associated with Fatah published the names of some 300 people in Gaza who they reported to have been shot and assaulted by Hamas because they were Fatah supporters.

“The Palestinian authorities should ensure that allegations of such crimes are impartially and independently investigated and bring the perpetrators to justice in proceedings that respect international fair trial standards and exclude the death penalty,” the report claims.

Amnesty International also stated its concerns regarding Hamas’ criminal justice system. The human rights organization said that it was “concerned that the bodies and mechanisms set up by the Hamas de facto administration to carry out law enforcement and the administration of justice lack the necessary skills, independence, oversight and accountability…”

“It seems that perpetrators of human rights abuses continue to enjoy impunity and that the Hamas administration lacks the political will to hold perpetrators of such crimes to account, particularly Hamas members, and to respect fundamental human rights including the rights to life and to be free from torture,” the report further stated.

Moreover, the report also noted that Hamas not only failed to stop unlawful executions and serious human rights abuses, “but sought to justify and even facilitated or encouraged them.”

Less than a year following  Operation Protective Edge, both the Hamas administration in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah have not yet held anyone responsible for the abuses or executions, and have refused to open any investigations.

“This failure to investigate to ensure accountability echoes the similar failure of the Palestinian authorities to fulfill their international legal obligations in relation to serious abuses committed by Hamas and Palestinian armed groups during previous conflicts with Israel,” the report stated.

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