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To the Government of Israel
All forces should be immediately ordered to uphold
fundamental principles of international humanitarian law. In particular, they
Distinguish at all times between civilians and
combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives, and cease any
deliberate targeting of civilians.
Cease all indiscriminate attacks, in particular
indiscriminate bombardments against cities, towns, villages and other areas in
which civilians are concentrated.
Scrupulously observe the principle of
proportionality. Cease launching any attack that may be expected to cause
incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian
objects, or a combination thereof that would be excessive in relation to the concrete
and direct military advantage anticipated.
Immediately cease the use of cluster munitions in Lebanon until the dud rate can be reduced dramatically. If cluster munitions are employed,
they should never be used in or near populated areas.
Never target humanitarian personnel, convoys and
objects, or peacekeeping personnel, all of whom are entitled to the protections
given to civilians.
Instruct all levels of government to cooperate with
international investigations into violations of international humanitarian law,
including the Commission of Inquiry proposed below.
To the United Nations
Human Rights Watch urges the Secretary-General of
the United Nations to establish an International Commission of Inquiry to
investigate reports of violations of international humanitarian law, including
possible war crimes, in Lebanon and Israel and to formulate recommendations
with a view to holding accountable those who violated the law. The Commission
of Inquiry (COI) should be headed by an internationally recognized, independent
expert with direct experience investigating war-time compliance with
international humanitarian law. The COIs team should include expertise in
forensics, ballistics and weaponry, international humanitarian law, and other
relevant disciplines. The funding of the COI should be adequate to ensure its
Given the urgency of the
situation, the COI should present its interim findings to the
Secretary-General as soon as possible. The Secretary-General should present
these findings and recommendations, as well as the COIs final report, to
the Security Council for further consideration and action.
To the Government of the United States
Immediately suspend transfers to Israel of arms, ammunition, and other materiel that have been documented or credibly alleged to have
been used in violation of international humanitarian law in Lebanon, as well as funding or support for such materiel, pending an end to the violations.
Conduct a full investigation into Israels use of U.S.-supplied arms, ammunition, and other materiel in violations of
international humanitarian law.
To the Government of the United Kingdom and other countries through which
weapons, ammunition, or other military materiel may pass in transit to Israel
Do not permit the use of national territory for the
transit or transshipment to Israel of arms, ammunition, or other materiel that
have been documented or credibly alleged to have been used in violation of
international humanitarian law in Lebanon, pending an end to the violations.4
Where they do not already exist, adopt and apply
controls that require licenses for weapons transfers, as well as arms transit
and arms brokering. Make the issuance of licenses conditional on the ultimate
recipients respect for human rights and international humanitarian law.
Licenses should be denied in cases where the recipient engages in a pattern of
gross abuses of human rights or serious violations of international
humanitarian law or there otherwise is a clear risk the weapons will be misused
in such a way.5
indiscriminate rocket attacks against Israeli cities, towns, villages and other
areas in which civilians are concentrated as well as any deliberate targeting
Make all feasible efforts to avoid locating
military objectives within or near densely populated areas and to remove
civilian persons or objects under its control from the vicinity of military
Under no circumstance take advantage of the
location of civilians or other persons protected under international law for
the purpose of shielding a military objective from attack or to favor or impede
To the Governments of Syria and Iran
Do not permit transfers to Hezbollah of arms,
ammunition, and other materiel that have been documented or credibly alleged to
have been used in violation of international humanitarian law in Lebanon, as well as funding or support for such materiel, pending an end to the violations.
 Such a
move is consistent with the obligation of States under Common Article 1 to the
Geneva Conventions to respect and ensure respect for international
humanitarian law, which confers a responsibility on third-party states to avoid
action that would assist in violations by the parties to a conflict. States
party to the Geneva Conventions agreed to make respect for international
humanitarian law one of the fundamental criteria on which arms transfer
decisions are assessed at the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red
Crescent in 2003. A number of governments, including those that adhere to the
European Union Code of Conduct on Arms Exports, have instruments in place to
implement these commitments. The UK, along with other countries, supports the
extension of the EU Code to cover arms transit and also changes to make the
code binding. It should act accordingly as a matter of policy.
footnote 5, above.