Translated and edited by: Committee for Justice
Geneva: May 14, 2023
UN experts denounced the absence of justice in the killing of the Palestinian journalist for Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, stressing that ” justice remains, again, hostage of politics.”
The statements came in conjunction with the first anniversary of the killing of Abu Akleh. “After a year, Israeli authorities have failed to hold the perpetrators of Abu Akleh’s killing accountable, while independent investigations have pointed at the culpability of Israeli forces. Justice remains, again, hostage of politics,” the UN experts said.
Violations of international law:
“So far, every one of the requirements under international law for the investigation of potentially unlawful deaths, namely: promptness, effectiveness and thoroughness, independence and impartiality and transparency, appears to have been violated in this case,” the UN experts said.
The experts pointed out that international law requires at least an effective, comprehensive, independent, impartial and transparent investigation into the death of Abu Akleh, and these steps must be implemented in accordance with applicable international standards, including the Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Potentially Unlawful Death (2016), stressing that the failure to conduct a prompt and effective investigation, followed by prosecution and judicial process, may in itself constitute a violation of the right to life.
Calls for accountability:
The experts urged the Israeli authorities to ensure that those responsible are held accountable without delay, noting that Abu Akleh’s family must receive justice, the truth and appropriate compensation, and that the entire world needs to know what happened.
The experts stressed that the safety of journalists, particularly in situations of conflict and occupation, is critical to support accountability and transparency. “The deliberate killing of a journalist in such situations amounts to extrajudicial execution, an egregious violation of the right to life, and wilful killing under the fourth Geneva Convention. It is thus paramount that journalists are provided with effective protective measures,” they stressed.
“The killing of Shireen Abu Akleh is symbolic, embodying grave human rights violations that Palestinians have faced under the Israeli occupation for over 55 years,” the experts said.
The UN Charter is being betrayed in the occupied territories:
The experts urged the international community to take concrete action in the face of these violations. “The United Nations Charter is betrayed every day in the occupied Palestinian territory,” they stressed.
Sherine Abu Akleh, the Palestinian-American journalist and correspondent for Al-Jazeera channel, was shot dead on May 11, 2022, while carrying out her duties as a journalist reporting on Israel’s raid in the Jenin refugee camp.
Numerous independent investigations by various bodies and organizations, including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, have concluded that Abu Akleh was most likely killed by seemingly well-targeted shots fired by Israeli forces, despite her wearing clear identification as a journalist.