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State to HCJ: No room for further review of punitive house demolitions after general petition filed by HaMoked against it was dismissed

On January 15, 2015, HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual, along with a number of other human rights organizations, filed a request for a further hearing by an expanded panel, in the general petition against the punitive house demolition policy, which had been dismissed by the court. HaMoked stressed that the main arguments in the petition, namely that the policy constitutes collective punishment and damage to the property of protected persons, both prohibited under international law, have never been thoroughly reviewed, including in the judgment. HaMoked argued that the issue is crucial and its ramifications are grave. HaMoked noted that the Palestinians joined the Rome Statute on the very day the petition was dismissed, giving the ICJ authority to investigate and adjudicate over breaches of the laws of war that occur in the West Bank. HaMoked cautioned, based on an expert opinion by leading authorities on international law, which was submitted with the petition, that punitive demolitions under Regulation 119 may be considered a war crime, and that this change, together with the complexity and importance of the issue, require a further hearing of the petition before an expanded panel.

In its response dated February 12, 2015, the state took the position that a further hearing of the petition should not be permitted. The state claimed, inter alia, that the court had held that the main arguments in the petition had recently been reviewed by the court on many occasions. The state also argued that in the HCJ judgment dismissing the petition did not produce new law, which, according to the state, is a condition for holding a further hearing. The state also argued that case law regarding use of Regulation 119 as the legal source for house demolitions was not likely to change.

HaMoked hopes that the unlawfulness of the punitive house demolition policy, and the inaccuracies in the state’s arguments, might once again face scrutiny before an extended panel. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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