On the 13th October; 2 consecutive Israeli strikes on South Lebanon killed a Reuters journalist, Issam Abdallah, and 6 other journalists were injured.
The investigation by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International showed that their location, 1km away from the Lebanon-Israel border, was stationary for 75 minutes before the attack; away from the areas of fighting and other civilians; on top of a hill, exposed site with no obstruction that could possibly cover their identity, intentions, or action. Their uniforms were indicative of the press members with the blue vests, and the crew vehicle showed yellow tape on the bonnet to indicate media crew.
Helicopters and drones owned by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) was seen by the eyewitnesses hovering around the area. The group was also covered by the survelliance towers at the border. No military target was found after the strikes.
The strikes were 37 seconds apart, while it is not known which one killed Issam Abdallah, he died on the site. 6 other injuries included journalists from AFP, Reuters and Al Jazeera.
The investigations provided shows that this is likely to be a targeted attack to the journalists. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court includes the definition of a war crime in Article 8 that includes “wilfull killing (2,a,i)” and “intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against individuals not taking direct part in hostilies (2,b,i)”. The evidence gathered has shown the breach of these points.
By the international humanitarian law, both parties are required to investigate violations of international humanitarian law and war crimes committed by the armed forces. The officials of Israel apologies for the killing of a journalist but has not shown clear evidence, or justification for the cause of the action.
From the reports and clear evidence gathered, we demand that Israeli forces are held responsible for the breach of international humanitarian law that is classified as ‘war crime’ and should not be tolerated by the international governing bodies for the prevention of further violations.
He was a professional journalist that dedicated his life to showing the realities of wars to the rest of the world with full transparency. He worked in Russian invasion of Ukraine, war against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and 2020 Beirut Port blast. He was nominated for the best Journalist Award in 2020 and was part of the group that won the award in 2022. His work played crucial part in showing the effects of destructive international acts.
As Rights Defenders, we condemn violation of international law and targeting the freedom of press by Israel.