Monday, February 26, 2024

UN experts condemn Israeli “extrajudicial” killing of Hamas leader in Lebanon

UN experts in international law condemned Israel's recent killing of Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri and other members in Beirut, saying it amounted to the crime of extrajudicial killing and murder.

The statement on the matter was carried by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Tuesday.

The drone strike on the Lebanese capital of Beirut on January 2 constituted a violation of international law, given that Israel has neither provided any justification for the strike nor reported it to the Security Council as required per the UN Charter, the experts noted.

“All states are prohibited from arbitrarily depriving individuals of their right to life in military or security operations abroad, including when countering terrorism,” the experts said.

“Killings in foreign territory are arbitrary when they are not authorized under international law. Israel was not exercising self-defense because it presented no evidence that the victims were committing an armed attack on Israel from Lebanese territory,” they added.

Israel has a very poor record on the subject, the experts noted, condemning its “deplorable history of assassinating suspected terrorists abroad”. Namely, “hundreds of preventive strikes on Hezbollah in the Syrian civil war” as well as other extraterritorial operations.

“Israeli police and courts must bring to justice all involved in these alleged murders,” the experts demanded, while also urging the Security Council to “effectively respond to all states in the region whose actions threaten international peace and security”.

Over the course of the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip, prompted by the October 7 attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on Israel, Tel Aviv carried out numerous drone and artillery strikes on Lebanon – as well as on Syria – in a presumed effort to hit Hezbollah and other groups. Israel itself rarely comments on such strikes or acknowledges responsibility for them.

The latest high-profile Hezbollah target was attacked in Lebanon on Monday. The group sannounced that Wissam al-Tawil, deputy head of the group’s secretive Radwan commando unit, was killed in an air strike in southern Lebanon, attributing the attack to Israel.

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