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PRELIMINARY FINDINGS OF AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL DELEGATES' VISIT TO JENIN

AI Index: MDE 15/058/2002
Publish date: 22/04/2002

On their return from a research mission to Israel and the Occupied
Territories, Amnesty International delegates presented today their
preliminary findings during a press conference at the Foreign Press
Association. Delegates interviewed eye-witnesses and met government
representatives, including from the Israeli Defence Forces. They
visited Rumaneh village, Jenin city, Jenin City Hospital and Jenin
Refugee Camp.

"The evidence compiled indicates that serious breaches of
international human rights and humanitarian law were committed,
including war crimes, but only an independent international
commission of inquiry can establish the full facts and the scale of
these violations," said Javier Zúñiga, Director of Regional Strategy
of the organization's International Secretariat.

The delegation received credible evidence of such serious violations including:

* Failure to give civilians warning or time to evacuate Jenin refugee
camp before Apache helicopters launched their first attacks.

* Failure by the Israeli Defence Forces to protect the people of the
refugee camp, who are "protected people" under the Fourth Geneva
Convention relative to the Protection of Civilians Persons in Time of
War.

* Allegations of extrajudicial executions

* Failure, for 13 days, to allow humanitarian assistance to the
people in the camp who were trapped in the rubble of demolished
houses or running out of food and water.

* Denial of medical assistance to the wounded in the refugee camp and
deliberate targeting of ambulances.

* Excessive use of lethal force and using civilians as a "human shield".

* Ill-treatment, including beatings and degrading treatment, of
Palestinian detainees.

* Extensive damage to property with no apparent military necessity.

Commenting on his preliminary findings following the autopsies he
carried out in Jenin Hospital, Professor Derrick Pounder said:

"What was striking is what was absent . There were very few bodies in
the hospital. There were also none who were seriously injured, only
the 'walking wounded'. Thus we have to ask: where are the bodies and
where are the seriously injured?''

"Delegates stressed that the UN fact - finding mission which was
being set up was an important first step towards establishing the
truth. However, an independent international commission of inquiry
should follow without delay. This should have the means and the
expertise necessary to carry out a serious and thorough
investigation. "The report of this investigation must be made public
and those found responsible brought to justice".

Press conference (Real Video file):
http://emedia.amnesty.org/Israel_PC.ram

Read the report at:
http://web.amnesty.org/web/web.nsf/pages/IOT_home

Direct link to report: "The heavy price of Israeli incursions":
http://web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/Index/MDE150422002?OpenDocument

For more information please call Amnesty International's press office
in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566. Address: Amnesty International, 1
Easton St., London WC1X 0DW. Website: http://www.amnesty.org