Bill Bowring is Professor of Law at Birkbeck College, University of London. He first visited the West Bank and Gaza in 1987 in the context of the First Intifada, as a member of a two-person mission sent by the Arab Lawyers Union and the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) and since then has taken part in a number of human rights missions to Israel and the OPT, most recently in a mission organized by the Bar of England and Wales and Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights from 29 March to 3 April 2009, investigating the system of Israeli Military Courts in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Escalation of Attacks on Refugee Camps
Between July and September 2001, Israel continued to escalate its campaign of state-sponsored terror against the Palestinian people temporarily reoccupying several West Bank cities, including Beit Jala (Bethlehem), Jenin, and Jericho, resulting in numerous deaths and injuries, heavy damages and looting by Israeli soldiers. During the same period, Israeli forces stepped up attacks on Palestinian refugee camps, which are considered to be protected spaces under international law, even in the case where individual combatants are found to be within the space of a refugee camp.
This paper is based on the talk I gave on Saturday 18 April 2009 at the Israel Review Conference and BDS Follow up Meetings, “United Against Apartheid, Colonialism and Occupation: Dignity & Justice for the Palestinian People,” Geneva.
I was invited to speak first because of my experience since 1992 in taking cases against Turkey and then Russia at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR); and because I was recently in the West Bank as part of a UK delegation examining the Israeli Military Courts in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
There are two themes which I wish to emphasize in what follows. The first is complicity, while the second is accountability.