Update on unlawful transfer of Palestinians

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, together with Ad-Dameer Association for Human Rights, is representing 17 of the 18 Palestinians detainees currently issued with an “assigned residence” order, effectively unlawfully transferring them from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip.

PCHR and Ad-Dameer have submitted an appeal on behalf of the detainees to the Israeli military legal advisor and an Israeli military appeals committee is scheduled to convene on Sunday, 19 October at 8:30am at Erez military court.  Pending the outcome of the appeal, PCHR and Ad-Dameer will then submit a further appeal to the Israeli High Court of Justice.

The 18 detainees, who were all being held by the Israeli military under administrative detention orders, were issued with an assigned residence order, signed by the GOC of the Israeli military Central Command, Major General Moshe Kaplinski, on 13 and 14 October 2003.  The detainees were transported from administrative detention to the Erez military compound where they are being held pending the outcome of their appeal.  All 18 of the detainees are accused of involvement in attacks against Israeli targets but no specific charges or evidence of such activities has been presented.

PCHR is concerned that, as occurred in the first use of this order in September 2002, the military appeals committee does not constitute an effective appeal within the meaning of international law, including in respect of rules of evidence and that the committee members are appointed by the military commander who signed the original order.

PCHR reiterates that this latest use of “assigned residence” orders constitutes an unlawful transfer in violation of article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and other provisions of international humanitarian and human rights law, including rights to a fair trial.

PCHR calls for the immediate withdrawal of the “assigned residence” orders.  PCHR further calls on the international community, specifically the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to intervene to halt these unlawful transfers and other grave breaches of the Convention.