Expressing concern about possible imminent executions in Gaza, the United Nations human rights office today urged the authorities in Gaza to uphold their obligations to respect the rights to life and to a fair trial and not carry out death penalty.
“We also urge the Palestinian President to establish a moratorium on executions in line with the strong international trend towards ending the use of the death penalty,” said spokesperson Rupert Colville of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
He said that the office is “deeply concerned about recent statements made by the authorities in Gaza, including the Attorney General, of their intention to implement a number of death sentences, and fear that the first executions may be imminent.”
The Gaza authorities' statements follow the demands of several families for the death penalty to be carried out against individuals accused of killing their relatives.
Death sentences may only be carried out in extremely limited circumstances, and pursuant to a trial and appeals that scrupulously follow fair trial standards, he said, adding that the office has serious doubts as to whether capital trials in Gaza meet these standards, and is concerned about reports indicating that these executions will be implemented without the approval of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, which is required under Palestinian law.
Media reports indicating that the sentences could be carried out in public also raise alarm, as this is a practice prohibited under international human rights law, the spokesperson said.