Israeli High Court issues temporary decision to halt the transfer of 8 Palestinian detainees from the West Bank

On 29 October 2003, the Israeli High Court issued a temporary decision, the second of its kind in less than a week, stopping the transfer and “assignment of residence” of Palestinian detainees from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli High Court accepted an appeal submitted by PCHR and Ad-Dameer Association for Human Rights on 23 October 2003. The appeal to the Israeli High Court was issued against a decision made on the same day by the Israeli Military Appeal Committee in Erez (Gaza Strip), where the detainees to be transferred are currently being held under administrative detention. The Appeal Committee’s decision approved a military order to transfer the 18 detainees from the West Bank to “assigned residency” in the Gaza Strip, on suspicion of their involvement in attacks against Israeli targets.

On Friday 24 October 2003, the Israeli High Court issued a similar temporary decision stopping the transfer of 5 of the 18 Palestinian detainees from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip, pending a final decision on the case.

The Israeli High Court is expected to hold sessions to consider the rest of the detainees’ cases in the coming days.

The Legal Unit of the PCHR will continue to pursue these cases in an attempt to prevent the unlawful transfer of the Palestinian civilians concerned. According to article 49 and 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (1949) such transfers constitute violations of international humanitarian law, further clarified as war crimes in article 85 of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions.

PCHR calls upon Israeli occupying forces to immediately rescind these “assigned residence” orders and halt all other grave breaches of international humanitarian law perpetrated by Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories.