Five Palestinians executed in Ramallah
30 March 2002

This morning, five Palestinians have been found dead in Taiboun building
in Ramallah. The bodies were found by Maher Shalabi, correspondent for
Dubai TV. This morning at 10.30 he entered the building and discovered
the bodies of Khaled Fathi Mahmoud Awad (33), Ismail Ibrahim Zaid (56),
Said Hamam Abdelrahman (60), Abdelrahman Tawfiq Abdallah (58), and Omar
Muhammad Musa (54).

Last night, Israeli forces had surrounded the building and prevented
anyone from entering. The building includes offices of several media
agencies, including MBC, Dubai TV, internet provider Palestine Online,
and Cairo Amman Bank.

All five have been identified as officers in the Palestinian security
forces. They were found in one room. All five bodies were lying next to
eachother. They were injured in their faces and killed by gunshots in the
head. Furthermore, eyewitnesses have told LAW that it seemed that the
bodies were spraid by bullets. On the ground lay many shells of bullets.
Blood was found on the walls.

LAW's assessment suggests that these five officers have been executed.

LAW emphasizes that extra-judicial executions constitute willful
killings, which are a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and as
such constitute war crimes subject to universal jurisdiction. Under
Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, these
grave breaches constitute war crimes. Whatever policy the Israeli
government chooses to implement, it must by within the limits imposed by
international humanitarian and human rights law.

Extra-judicial killings cannot be reconciled with the Fourth Geneva
Convention, which seek to protect the lives of protected persons, and
violate human rights norms that affirm the right to life and the
prohibition on execution of civilians.

Israel's ongoing human rights violations further illustrates the need for
the immediate deployment of an international protection presence to
prevent violations of the Fourth Geneve Convention and to protect
Palestinian protected persons within the Occupied Palestinian
Territories.

LAW - The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the
Environment calls for a thorough, independent, and effective
international investigation into violations of the Fourth Geneva
Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including war crimes,
and calls for those found responsible for such actions to be tried before
an international court.
____________________________

LAW - The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the
Environment is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to preserving
human rights through legal advocacy. LAW is affiliate to the
International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the Federation Internationale
des Ligues de Droits de l'Homme (FIDH) and the World Organisation
Organisation Against Torture (OMCT).

LAW - The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the
Environment, PO Box 20873, Jerusalem, tel. +972-2-5833530, fax. +972-2-
5833317, email: law@lawsociety.org, web: http://www.lawsociety.org