The United Nations human rights office has condemned the execution of three men by authorities in Gaza today, despite serious and widespread concerns that international fair trial standards were not respected, and in spite of appeals by many local and international actors to halt the executions.
According to Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the executions were carried out without the approval of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, as required under Palestinian law, effectively denying these men their right to seek pardon or commutation of their sentence.
This right to seek pardon or commutation is also enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Palestine acceded in 2014, he told the regular bi-weekly press briefing in Geneva.
“We remain deeply concerned about further planned executions in the near future [and] reiterate that death sentences carried out pursuant to unfair trials are in violation of international law,” he said, urging the authorities in Gaza to halt any future executions and to uphold their obligations under national and international law to respect the rights to life and to a fair trial.
“We call on the Palestinian President to urgently establish a moratorium on the death penalty in line with the global trend, with a view to its abolition,” added Mr. Colville.