A UN professor on human rights on Wednesday condemned the “extrajudicial execution” of a Palestinian teen by an Israeli soldier last week as he lay on the ground wounded and motionless in Hebron in the occupied West Bank.
A video released by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem last Thursday showed one of the wounded teenagers lying on the bitumen while a nearby Israeli ambulance didn't treat the victim, shortly after, the footage showed an Israeli soldier shooting the teenager in his head, smearing the teenager’s brains onto the bitumen.
"The images shown carry all the signs of a clear case of an extrajudicial execution," said Christof Heyns, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, of the Hebron shooting.
"Whatever legal regime one applies to the case, shooting someone who is no longer a threat is murder."
Israeli soldiers assassinate wounded Palestinian, using ambulance for cover after it refused to medically aid him pic.twitter.com/TBKPdBYsaC
— Palestine Video (@PalestineVideo) March 24, 2016
Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said he was “extremely concerned” about the “apparent extrajudicial execution” of the Palestinian man.
Colville said he was chilled at the way none of the 20 or so people at the scene, including medical personnel, appeared to pay any attention to the wounded man while he was still alive, he added that “they barely show any reaction in the immediate aftermath of his killing”.
Conville urged that a prompt, thorough, transparent and independent investigation is essential while he stressed that the man filming the incident should be protected since he is “a key eyewitness to the killing.”
“Some reports say he and his family are being intimidated… he should be protected from any reprisals.”
The video went viral over social media with critics slamming Israeli soldiers for its ongoing occupation and excessive use of force.
The soldier, who was unapologetic, had been apprehended, but had not been charged, meanwhile prosecutors told a court they were looking into manslaughter charges instead of a murder investigation.
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process Nickolay Mladenov had also “strongly condemned” the “apparent extrajudicial execution” of the Palestinian teen.
"This was a gruesome, immoral and unjust act.”
He called on Israeli authorities to “bring to justice” the perpetrator of the incident.
Three other soldiers who were on the scene received a slap on the wrist for not treating the wounded teenager.
A boil of debate arose in Israel over whether Israel used excessive force against Palestinians.
A similar video went viral on Twitter where an Israeli soldier threw a knife next to a Palestinian school girl, then arrested her for an alleged stabbing attack.
— Eddie DiFruscia (@heavyde65) March 15, 2016
Although the video clearly shows signs of an execution, the teen’s body will be autopsied to determine the severity of the charges to be brought against the soldier.
A legal suppression order has prevented the soldier’s identity to be released.
Israel’s military chief on Wednesday sent out a letter to troops in which he said the army will support any soldier in an act of wrong.
Israeli demonstrators clashed with police outside a military court during the hearing of the convicted soldier, one demonstrator was seen holding photos of soldiers holding guns while another man was seen showing extreme contempt by waving his middle finger at press.
The past six months has seen the worst period of sustained violence in the West Bank and Jerusalem since Israel’s controversial bombing of civilians in 2014.
Colville was concerned that the execution was not a lone incident since more than 200 Palestinians have died since October last year, all shot by Israeli forces under controversial allegations of knife attacks or car-rammings.
Many other Palestinians were also shot during demonstrations and protests.
Israelis have been accused of using excessive force in most other cases, all of which they have mostly denied.