20 September 2005
The Truth about the Bodies of the Victims of October 2000
Adalah presents the legal facts regarding the Ministry of Justice's Police Investigation Unit's (Mahash) allegation that the refusal of the families of the thirteen Palestinian citizens killed by Israeli security forces in October 2000 to allow the exhumation of the victims' bodies for autopsy was one of the factors which led to their inability to uncover the truth about the killings as follows:
1. As Mahash did not demand the exhumation of all of the bodies, but only four (Asel Asleh, Eyad Lawabny, Ramez Bushnaq and Ala Nassar), what is their position with regard to the remaining bodies? Why has Mahash not uncovered the truth about the remaining nine victims?
2. Mahash's demand to exhume the bodies of the four aforementioned victims came almost five years after their interment. Adalah requested that Mahash provide it with information concerning the investigation into the deaths of the four to indicate that their exhumation is essential for arriving at the truth. However, Mahash refused this request.
3. Mahash itself and on its own initiative issued directives dated 3 October 2000 to the Nahariya Hospital to release the bodies of four of the victims (Walid Abu Saleh, Emad Ghanaym, Asel Asleh and Ala Nassar) without performing autopsies on them. Two are among the four bodies which Mahash demanded to exhume almost five years later.
4. Mahash's demand regarding the exhumation of the four bodies was made almost five years after the killings, and represents the first time that a demand to exhume a body was made after such a lengthy period. The Supreme Court of Israel decided in similar cases that a demand to exhume a body made a long time following a death must be extremely convincing and must indicate that the exhumation of the body is the only remaining means of uncovering the truth. Mahash's request was not made in accordance with the Supreme Court's decisions.
5. On 3 October 2000, Mahash received four autopsy reports from the Institute for Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir for four of the victims (Rami Ghara, Mohammed Jabareen, Ahmed Jabareen and Misleh Abu Jarad). Why, then, has Mahash not uncovered the truth about the deaths of these four men?