DAYS TWO AND THREE OF CORRIE TRIAL

Autopsy doctor admits to violating court order in Rachel Corrie autopsy

Today 14 March 2010 the Haifa District Court saw the second full day of testimony in the civil lawsuit filed by Rachel Corrie’s family against the State of Israel for her unlawful killing in Rafah, Gaza. Rachel Corrie, an American human rights defender from Olympia, Washington, was crushed to death on March 16, 2003 by a Caterpillar D9R bulldozer. She had been nonviolently demonstrating against Palestinian home demolitions with fellow members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land using nonviolent, direct action methods and principles.

Download this press release: March 14: Autopsy doctor admits to violating court order in Rachel Corrie autopsy (pdf, 146.02 KB)

In today’s hearing:

  • Dr. Yehuda Hiss, the former head of the Israel Forensic Institute who conducted the autopsy of Rachel Corrie at the request of the Israeli military, admitted that he violated an Israeli court order requiring that an official from the U.S. Embassy be present during Rachel’s autopsy. Hiss also stated that his policy was not to allow entrance to the autopsy to anyone who is not a physician or biologist. Dr. Hiss stated that he spoke by phone with the US Embassy after receiving the court order and was told they would not be sending a representative, and that the Corrie family had agreed to the autopsy. Dr. Hiss admitted there was no documentation in his file of this conversation with the Embassy. The U.S. Embassy has repeatedly told the family that this was not the conversation that occurred.
  • Dr. Hiss also disclosed that he had kept samples from Rachel’s body for histological testing without informing her family. Dr. Hiss admitted that he did not inform the family about their right to bury the samples and that the samples were likely to have been buried with other body samples from the Institute, but he was uncertain. This was the first time that the family of Rachel Corrie received confirmation that the Israeli Forensic Institute had indeed kept samples of her body, despite prior attempts to receive this information. Dr. Hiss has been the subject of a prior lawsuit in Israel brought by families for whom he did not return body parts and samples.
  • The judge granted the Corries’ request to expand their punitive damages request, to include the failure to ensure that a U.S. Embassy official was present during the autopsy. In response to the State’s demand, the judge requested that the Corries specify the amount of claimed punitive damages. The Corries set the punitive damages at the symbolic amount of $1, stating that the court’s pronouncement of accountability and preventing future harm to others was more important to them than money.
  • The judge granted the Corries’ motion to allow into evidence the medical report of Dr. Ahmed Abu Nikera the Palestinian physician who pronounced Rachel’s death in Rafah, Gaza. The State agreed to the admission of this report only after the judge granted the Corries’ earlier motion to allow Abu Nikera to testify via video conference from Gaza. In Professor Hiss’s testimony, he stated that Abu Nikera’s medical report was consistent with his findings, including the statement that Rachel had arrived dead at the hospital.

Today’s hearing also included the conclusion of Tom Dale’s testimony, a fellow ISM activist and eyewitness to Rachel’s killing.

Today’s hearing was attended by several observers, including Andrew Parker, the U.S. Embassy Consul General and human rights representatives, including Lawyers without Borders, and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).

Testimony will continue on March 15 from 9am-1pm, and on March 17 from 9am-4pm.

Rachel Corrie Foundation

Via Uruknet

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Day 3 of trial……

Eye witness testifies: Israeli military investigator tried to influence my statement

Today, March 15, 2010, the Haifa District Court saw the third day of testimony in the civil lawsuit filed by Rachel Corrie’s family against the State of Israel for her unlawful killing in Rafah, Gaza. Rachel was crushed to death on March 16, 2003 by a Caterpillar D9R bulldozer. She had been nonviolently demonstrating against Palestinian home demolitions with fellow members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land using nonviolent, direct action methods and principles. Today’s only testimony came from British citizen Alice Coy, a nurse, who was an eyewitness to the killing. The state spent most of the day trying to establish that contrary to all eyewitness accounts and human rights reports, the Israeli Military had no intention of demolishing homes in the area on the day Rachel was killed.

Ms. Coy testified that:
– She first visited Israel in order visit Israeli family members.

– When the Israeli Military interviewed her on April 1st about Rachel’s killing, the soldier who documented her testimony refused to record her statement that she believed the bulldozers were going to destroy civilian homes.

– She believed the Israeli Military was planning to demolish homes on the day Rachel was killed because the Israeli Military had been demolishing homes on the Philadelphi Corridor in the days and weeks prior, and because they had already begun to demolish a house earlier that day by damaging its porch.

– She had spoken with many Palestinian families in the area where Rachel was killed whose homes had been demolished by the Israeli Military.

– She believed the bulldozer driver who killed Rachel could see her.

– She described her view of her work with ISM as promoting peace for the whole region.

———————-

The home Rachel Corrie was protecting, that of Dr. Samir Nasrallah, was in fact demolished by the Israeli Military later that year.

According to an October, 2004 Human Rights Watch report, Razing Rafah: Mass Home Demolitions in the Gaza Strip (http://www.hrw.org/en/node/11963/section/11), between 2000 and 2004, the Israeli Military demolished over 2,500 Palestinian houses in Gaza, nearly two thirds of which were located in Rafah, resulting in more than 16,000 people – over 10% of Rafah’s population – losing their homes. The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, in its 2004 report Through No Fault of their Own, found that contrary to Israel’s claim that prior warning is given before a home is demolished, occupants were given prior notification in a mere 3% of the cases.

The Human Rights’ Watch report further documented that most of the destruction in Rafah occurred along the Israeli-controlled border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt known as the Philadelphi Corridor, the area where Rachel was killed. During regular nighttime raids and with little or no warning, Israeli forces used armored Caterpillar D9 bulldozers to raze blocks of homes, incrementally expanding a “buffer zone” that is currently up to three hundred meters wide.The pattern of destruction strongly suggests that Israeli forces demolished homes wholesale, regardless of whether they posed a specific threat, in stark violation of international law.

The trial will resume on Wednesday, March 17, 2010, at 9 a.m. at the district court in Haifa.

Source

2 Comments

  1. March 16, 2010 at 15:15

    […] DAYS TWO AND THREE OF CORRIE TRIAL « Desertpeace. March 16th, 2010 | Category: Uncategorized | Leave a comment | […]

  2. March 17, 2010 at 02:54

    […] 1 Comment […]


%d bloggers like this: