UN Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, to hold Public Hearings in Geneva from 7 to 11 November 2022

GENEVA (4 November 2022) – As part of its mandate and its investigations, the United Nations (UN) Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), including East Jerusalem, and Israel (“Commission of Inquiry”) will hold a first series of public hearings from 7 to 11 November 2022, in Geneva. 

The Commission of Inquiry was established in May 2021 via Human Rights Council Resolution S-30/1 to “urgently establish an ongoing, independent, international commission of inquiry…to investigate, in the [OPT], including East Jerusalem, and in Israel all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and…of international human rights law leading up to and since 13 April 2021, and all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity”. 


The hearings are open to accredited media and will take place in Room 17 at the Palais des Nations from 2pm to 6pm each day, and will be broadcast live in English on UN Web TV.  


The hearings will focus on the closure orders and terrorism designation of a number of Palestinian human rights organizations.  


In October 2021, Israel designated six prominent Palestinian human rights organisations as “terrorist” organisations. These organisations include our partner Al Haq, Addameer, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defence for Children International – Palestine, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees.  


Despite repeated demands from governments and human rights organisations worldwide, Israel has offered no credible evidence to support its allegations against these groups, and as a result, nine European countries rejected Israel’s claims and continued support to the organisations. More recently, in August 2022, it was reported that a classified CIA report shows that the Agency was unable to find any evidence to support Israel’s designation of these organisations. 


The public hearings will also focus on the incident surrounding the killing of the Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on 11 May 2022. 


On 20 September 2022, a Communication was submitted to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by Bindmans LLP and Doughty Street Chambers on behalf of Anton Abu Akleh, the brother of Shireen Abu Akleh, journalists Ali Samoudi and Shatha Hanaysha, with the support of the local journalist union, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (“PJS”), the International Federation of Journalists (“IFJ”), and the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (“ICJP”) regarding the shooting and killing of Shireen Abu Akleh and shooting of Ali Samoudi whilst covering raids conducted by the Israeli forces in Jenin, Palestine. 


This followed an earlier Communication, regarding the systematic targeting of Palestinian journalists by Israel, submitted on 19 April 2022 to the ICC by the same legal team on behalf of four journalists who were either maimed or killed – Muath Amarneh, Nedal Eshtayeh, Ahmad Abu Hussein and Yaser Murtaja, or their bereaved families – and by occupants of the Al-Sousi, the Al-Shorouk, and the Al-Jalaa Towers in Gaza (which housed Palestinian and international media organisations, and civilian residences), with the support of the PJS, IFJ, and the ICJP.  


Victims, witnesses, civil society organizations, and legal representatives will be invited to provide relevant testimony to the Commission of Inquiry in this forum. 


These hearings will form part of the Commission of Inquiry’s ongoing investigative work, including for upcoming reports. More information on the work of the Commission of Inquiry can be found here.