In response to the escalating conflict in the Middle East, the International Bar Association (IBA), a renowned entity in the global legal community, has voiced its stern condemnation of recent attacks against Israel by the militant group Hamas.
Since Hamas launched its surprise assault on Israel on Saturday (7 Oct), at least 1,008 individuals have been killed, as reported by Israel’s state-owned Kan TV news on Tuesday (10 Oct).
Meanwhile, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry on the same day, the death toll from Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip has reached 830, with injuries tallying up to 4,250.
IBA President Almudena Arpón de Mendívil Aldama articulated her deep concern in a statement: “The International Bar Association (IBA) strongly condemns the heinous attacks on Israel by the militant group Hamas. These indiscriminate and targeted atrocities against Israeli citizens contravene an unequivocal, non-derogable prohibition under international law.”
Founded in 1947, shortly after the establishment of the United Nations, the IBA represents the collective conscience of legal practitioners, bar associations, and law societies worldwide. It was established with the dedicated purpose of protecting and promoting the rule of law globally.
The gravity of recent events is evident in President Aldama’s words: “The murder of civilians, assaults, and the trespass into private homes to kill and maim are all internationally recognized crimes of profound gravity. The abductions and hostage-taking, including of women, children, and the elderly, are breaches of human rights and humanitarian law.”
Following the overwhelming assault, Israel declared war on Hamas. As the nation faces a death toll exceeding 1,100, it grapples with the aftermath of a significant barrage of rockets and ground incursions that resulted in numerous abductions.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned citizens to brace for what could be a prolonged and challenging period.
The IBA’s statement emphasizes Israel’s inherent right to self-defense, adding, “Israel must ensure that civilian populations are shielded from harm and that military actions adhere to the international legal principles of distinction and proportionality.”
Hamas, which holds significant governance in the Gaza Strip, faces international condemnation. Their use of human shields and a historical tendency for violence against non-combatants has resulted in their designation as a terrorist organization by several countries.
In the midst of the chaos, the IBA makes a passionate plea to global institutions and governments, “The IBA urges all international institutions and governments to employ their best diplomatic efforts to secure the release of the hostages, prevent further escalation of violence, and return to negotiations to achieve a just solution between Israel and Palestine.”
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