oPt

OPT: UN committee poses 30 tough questions to Israel on torture, indefinite detention of prisoners, human shields, and ISA medical coercion of Gaza patients at Erez Crossing

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The UN Human Rights Committee has posed 30 highly critical questions to Israel concerning its compliance with the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

The Committee's "List of Issues" covers a wide range of human rights concerns in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Fourteen questions taken up by the Committee were directly related to human rights violations highlighted in an NGO report submitted to the Committee by Adalah, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Gaza) and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel on 10 August 2009. In the report, the three human rights organizations detailed Israel's lack of compliance with the ICCPR in areas related to the rights of Palestinian prisoners and detainees, as well as Palestinian civilians in the OPT.

Israel is a State Party to the ICCPR, which it ratified in 1991, and thus, it is legally bound to uphold the convention. The Committee will review Israel's responses to these questions at its session in Geneva in July 2010. Among the questions put by the Committee to Israel include:

Prisoners and detainees

The prohibition on torture and investigations into allegations of torture and ill-treatment

The Committee posed questions on whether Israel will fully incorporate the prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment into its domestic law (para. 13), and whether the "necessity defense" exception may still arise where physical pressure is used during the interrogation of terrorist suspects ("ticking bombs") (para. 14).

Further the Committee asked whether any complaints of torture or CIDT against the interrogators of "ticking bombs" have been referred to the Attorney General's office for the filing of criminal charges? The Committee asked for detailed information about the number of complaints and their outcomes, and the number of persons classified as "ticking bombs" (Para. 14) It also asked Israel to elaborate on the measures taken to ensure that no acts of torture or illtreatment are committed by ISA interrogators (Para. 15).