Palestinian-French human rights lawyer urges ICC to accelerate Israeli crimes probe
Palestinian-French human rights lawyer Salah Hamouri urged the International Criminal Court to accelerate its investigation of war crimes and crimes against humanity by Israeli officials, in a new submission filed to the ICC on his behalf by lawyers from the Center for Constitutional Rights of the International Federation for Human Rights.
In his submission, Hamouri exposes a long series of Israeli violations against Palestinians and against him personally, including the revocation of his Jerusalem residency rights, the entry ban of his wife and children to the country and his recent arrest and detention without charges.
Salah Hamouri dépose une plainteauprès de la Cour pénale internationale https://t.co/IVYgIc9mCe— Joe Catron (@jncatron) May 18, 2022
“Today I stand at the most difficult crossroads in my life, from prejudice to exile, detention without charge and more,” Hamouri’s submission to the ICC read.
“The occupation is not killing, detaining and displacing us [Palestinians]. It also persecutes and kills our dreams,” it continued. “The uncertainty of where I might end up once released is a whirlwind of thoughts that haunt me daily, and affects my morale and my psychological state like a roller coaster” it added.
Salah Hamouri, who for years defended Palestinian detainees at Israeli courts, had himself served an eight-year sentence in Israeli jails, in addition to other detention periods, including while working as lawyer.
In 2016, Israel deported his wife, Elsa Lefort, a French national, and their two children and banned them entry to the country.
Last October, Israel revoked Hamouri’s residency rights in Jerusalem, his home city, and confined him to residency in Kufr Aqab, a Palestinian suburban town north of Jerusalem. In March, Israeli forces arrested Hamouri from his residency in Kufr Aqab and placed him under administrative detention, without charges.
“Salah is in a difficult condition, submitted under psychological pressure by Israeli authorities who have threatened him of deportation,” the director of the Palestinian Addameer association for prisoners’ support and human rights, Sahar Francis, told The New Arab. Francis visited Salah Hamouri in Israeli jail two weeks ago.
“Salah can’t live in Jerusalem anymore, and he can’t work freely since his movement was restricted to Kufr Aqab, and now he can’t even communicate with his family since his detention,” Francis pointed out.
“We urge [the ICC’s] prosecutor [Karim] Khan to prioritise the investigation of crimes against Palestinians and move quickly to issue arrest warrants in concrete cases, including for crimes committed in occupied East Jerusalem and the case of Salah Hamouri,” declared Katherine Callagher, the main attorney of the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Khan’s predecessor as the ICC’s prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda opened in March 2021 a preliminary examination into crimes committed in Palestinian territory. Palestinian and international human rights organisations have since urged the ICC prosecutor to start an investigation.
Bensouda was succeeded by Karim Khan in June of the same year.
Earlier in April, Hamouri filed a complaint in French courts against the Israeli surveillance firm NSO for the hacking of his phone, while on French soil, by the NSO’s ‘Pegasus’ spyware. Hamouri was one of six Palestinian activists who announced discovering the spyware on their phones last November.