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Court ruling bad day for human rights: Crowe

29 August, 2012 - by Seán Crowe TD

Dublin South West TD, Séan Crowe, said he was extremely disappointed by the dismissal of the civil lawsuit brought by the family of Rachel Corrie against the Israeli state.
Rachel, a human rights activist from the US, died in March 2003 after being crushed by an Israeli military bulldozer while protesting against the destruction of Palestinian homes in Gaza.

Judge Oded Gershon ruled that Rachel’s death was not due to the negligence of either the Israeli state or army and stated that her death was purely because she placed herself in a dangerous situation. The judge also cleared the bulldozer driver of wrongdoing. Crowe said that the court decision made it a bad day for human rights and the Corrie family and that it undermined peace and reconciliation attempts in the region.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“Yesterday was a sad day for human rights and human rights defenders around the world. The failure to place any blame on the Israel Defence Force (IDF) for Rachel Corrie’s death is very troubling. The ruling shows, once again, that the Israeli legal system is not impartial or committed to holding IDF soldiers to account for their actions in the occupied Palestinian territories.

“The trial judge totally rejected eye-witness accounts from Rachel’s that the driver of the bulldozer could clearly see Rachel but declined to stop, which ensured she was crushed to death. Additionally photographic evidence shows Rachel was wearing a bright orange fluorescent jacket and was using a megaphone, which casts further doubt on how the driver could not see or hear her.

“Additionally Human Rights Watch has stated that military investigators failed to take statements from some key witnesses, follow up with other witnesses lawyers, or to reinvestigate witnesses who gave statements to check for discrepancies in their original statements. This is further reduces the creditability of the court and the judge’s ruling.

“Rachel Corrie was an extremely brave and committed human rights activist. On 16 March 2003 she went to protest non-violently against the destruction of Palestinian homes and what she perceived as injustice in Gaza. She should not have died that day and this ruling has giving a seal of approval for the IDF to continue illegal and dangerous practices in the occupied territories which fail to protect the lives of civilians.
“Today was a bad day for human rights, the Corrie family and the judgement has undermined peace and reconciliation attempts in the region."

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