The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate (PJS) today called for accountability for the deliberate targeting of journalists during the Israeli military offensive in the Gaza strip of the 2014 summer.
A joint IFJ and PJS delegation, made of IFJ President Jim Boumelha, PJS President Abdalnasser Najjar and Vice President Naser Abubaker, took part in the debate on the report of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict which was presented today to the 29th Session of the United Nations Human Rights council in Geneva. The Commission chairperson Ms. Mary McGowan said that the inquiry looked into "a broad range of alleged violations committed by all parties", and recommended "credible, effective, transparent and independent accountability mechanisms," saying that such mechanisms will provide deterrence against further violence in the future.
The IFJ and PJS joint statement delivered by Abdalnasser Najjar echoed the call for accountability, citing evidence in the report of incidents where journalists and media premises were deliberately targeted by Israeli forces during the 52-day conflict. 19 journalists were killed and over 350 injured, the statement said.
"Local media was heavily attacked during the conflict with high velocity weapons and the report could not find a single case when the IDF gave them a warning. Such cases of directly and intentionally striking civilians and civilian objectives with no specific military objective amount to the violation of the principle of distinction and is a war crime under international humanitarian law."
The joint statement stressed the need for accountability and commits the IFJ and PJS to pursuing venues for bringing to justice those who attacked journalists.
The Council is expected to adopt a resolution on the Commission of Inquiry report at the end of the 29th Session of the UN Human Rights Council.
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The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 134 countries