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September 21, 2010

Complaint lodged in case of 16-year-old girl used as a human shield



[Ramallah, 22 September 2010] – On Monday, 20 September 2010, DCI-Palestine and Adalah lodged a complaint with the Israeli Military Advocate General (MAG) arising out of the use by Israeli soldiers of a child as a human shield.

DCI-Palestine and Adalah have received credible evidence that at 3:30am, on 18 February 2010, a 16-year-old girl (D.A.) was used as a human shield by units of the Israeli army whilst conducting operations in the old city of Nablus, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

It is alleged that in the early hours of 18 February, Israeli soldiers broke down the door to the family home and stormed the house. According to sworn affidavits collected by DCI-Palestine the soldiers came to arrest the girl’s older brother, M.A. (17) and accused him of possessing a weapon. The soldiers beat M.A. and their younger brother, K.A., who is 15. Meanwhile, the girl was ordered to fetch her brother’s I.D. card and was followed by two soldiers into the bedroom. When D.A. entered her brother’s bedroom one of the soldier’s pointed his weapon at her and told her to stand in the corner. ‘I was shivering in fear,’ recalls D.A. ‘I gave the I.D. to one of the soldiers and one of them ordered me to sit on the bed. They pointed their weapons at me and one of them sat beside me. Some of them were taking pictures of the house with a digital camera.’ The soldier sitting next to D.A. on the bed then stood up and ordered her to lift the mattress to see what was underneath. ‘You lift the mattress and we step away,’ said one of the soldiers. ‘I did so while I was quivering because I was very scared. They moved three metres back towards the door while aiming their weapons at me.’ D.A. was crying and shivering the whole time but was not strong enough to lift the mattress. Eventually the soldiers ordered her to leave it and ordered her to search the closets and other items in the room whilst pointing their weapons at her. After the search was over the soldiers took D.A.’s brother away.

The practice of using human shields involves forcing civilians to directly assist in military operations or using them to shield an area or troops from attack. Both of these circumstances expose civilians to physical, and sometimes, mortal danger. Civilians are usually threatened and/or physically coerced into performing these tasks, most of the time at gunpoint. The practice is illegal under both international and Israeli domestic law.

Since April 2004, DCI-Palestine has documented 15 cases involving Palestinian children being used as human shields by the Israeli army. Fourteen of the 15 cases, occurred after the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled the practice to be illegal in October 2005, suggesting that the army is not effectively implementing the Court’s decision.

# Name Date of incident Age at incident Nature of incident
1 M.B. 15 Apr 04 13 Tied to the bonnet of a military jeep for four hours during clashes.

October 2005
Israeli High Court rules that the use of civilians as human shields is illegal
 
2 A.E. 26 Feb 07 15 Forced at gunpoint to walk in front of soldiers during clashes.
3 J.D. 28 Feb 07 11 Forced at gunpoint to walk in front of soldiers and enter an abandoned house in search of combatants.
4 I.M. 11 Apr 07 14 Forced to sit for 15 minutes on the bonnet of a jeep during clashes.
5 O.G. 11 Apr 07 15 Forced to sit for 10 minutes on the bonnet of a jeep during clashes.
6 R.N. 11 Jul 07 14 Wounded whilst being forced to evacuate a house.
7 A.S. 04 Jan 09 14 Detained for 10 days and forced to search houses during war in Gaza.
8 A.A. 05 Jan 09 15 Detained close to military operations for four days during war in Gaza.
9 A.A. 05 Jan 09 16 Detained close to military operations for four days during war in Gaza.
10 N.A. 05 Jan 09 17 Detained close to military operations for four days during war in Gaza.
11 K.A. 05 Jan 09 15 Detained close to military operations for four days during war in Gaza.
12 H.A. 05 Jan 09 12 Detained close to military operations for four days during war in Gaza.
13 Majed R. 15 Jan 09 9 Forced at gunpoint to search bags thought to contain explosives during war in Gaza.
14 D.A. 18 Feb 10 16 Forced at gunpoint to search for a weapon.
15 S.A. 16 Apr 10 14 Forced at gunpoint to walk in front of soldiers during clashes.
 

DCI-Palestine and Adalah reiterate that full and impartial investigations meeting international standards must be carried out in all cases involving the use of children as human shields, and that the Israeli army must be given adequate training and supervision to ensure compliance with the 2005 ruling of the Israeli High Court of Justice.

Related information:

• 11 March 2010 – Ha’aretz Newspaper – Two IDF soldiers charged with using 9-year-old ‘human shield’ in Gaza war

 

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