This is a briefing on the legal interventions made by Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Al Mezan) on behalf of Palestinian victims of Israeli armed attacks, which allege violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights law (IHRL). The incidents occurred between 7 July and 26 August in the course of Israel's military operation on the Gaza Strip entitled Operation Protective Edge (OPE). In certain cases, the briefing refers to similar work carried out by sister Palestinian human rights NGOs in Gaza.
The interventions, submitted on behalf of civilian victims of the military attacks on the Gaza Strip, were based on documentation and investigations conducted by Palestinian human rights organizations. The criminal complaints were filed to the designated Israeli military authorities according to the procedures established under the Israeli military justice system: the Military Advocate General's office (MAG) and the newly installed Fact-Finding Assessment Mechanism (FFAM).
The legal representation of victims consists of two steps: 1) filing 'civil compensation notifications' to the complaints unit at the Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD) and 2) filing criminal complaints with the MAG and/or the FFAM.
This update aims to report on the progress of these complaints approximately 15 months after the end of OPE. This information is to be considered in conjunction with the outcome of complaints submitted in the aftermath of previous military operations, including Operation Cast Lead (2008/9) and Operation Pillar of Defense (2012).
The effectiveness of the Israeli complaints mechanisms is assessed according to international standards regarding the duty to investigate, which, as recently reiterated by the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict (CoI), must fulfill the criteria of "independence; impartiality; thoroughness; effectiveness; and promptness; transparency is also an increasingly important element"