ACT member Diakonia Sweden shares legal brief on breaches of IHL in hostilities in Israel and Gaza

On December 5, the Diakonia IHL Centre has launched a legal brief on the 2023 hostilities in Israel and Gaza. The brief assesses violations of international humanitarian law committed, respectively, by Hamas and other armed groups from Gaza and by the Israeli military during the time period from 7 October to 8 November 2023. The analysis in this brief is not exhaustive but rather reflects emblematic issues of concern that are indicative of wider patterns of conduct.

See below a short summary of the main findings:

 Today, we have released our detailed international humanitarian law (IHL) report on the conduct of armed groups from Gaza led by Hamas (Hamas forces) and Israel, covering the time period from 7 October to 8 November 2023.  In short, we have identified that both armed groups from Gaza (Hamas and others) and Israel have violated IHL. The conclusions of our report draw upon a factual account of events derived from a range of publicly available sources of information, which we have endeavoured to verify primarily by cross-referencing from a large and diverse set of credible sources with a high degree of fact-checking and verification.

 Our main findings are as follows:

  • Our report concludes that there is a large and compelling body of evidence that provides strong indications that armed groups from Gaza (Hamas and others) committed serious and widespread violations of IHL, and that their members perpetrated acts constituting war crimes.
  • Strong grounds to conclude that Israel’s cutting off of indispensable resources (as part of its declared ‘complete siege’ of Gaza) amounts to collective punishment, and serious concerns about intentionally starving the civilian population as a method of warfare.
  • Israel has also failed to comply with its obligation to allow for and facilitate the safe passage of humanitarian relief to all civilians in need.
  • There are serious concerns that the general approach of the Israeli government and military in the military operations conducted in Gaza is one of deliberate disregard for the restraints that IHL imposes on the conduct of hostilities, in breach of the principles of distinction, proportionality, and the duty to take precautions in attack.
  • We are gravely concerned about the harm inflicted upon hospitals, medical facilities, and medical personnel. We intend to address this further in a separate document.

Access the full brief here.