RWCHR Represents Lt. Hadar Golden Before EU and Israeli Knesset

Professor Irwin Cotler before the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Committee on June 20, 2018.

The RWCHR has taken up the case and cause of Lt. Hadar Goldin, an Israeli Defence Force soldier murdered by Hamas gunmen hours after a UN-mandated humanitarian cease fire took effect. In the four years since his death, Hamas has repeatedly refused to repatriate Hadar’s remains standing in direct violation of the most fundamental principles of international law, including: the foremost right to be treated with dignity, the obligation to patriate remains of the deceased, and the right to a proper burial, itself a principle of religious freedom. 

Professor Irwin Cotler before the Israeli Knesset’s Lobby on Returning Soldiers Home on July 4, 2018.

To bring the case to the attention of the international community, on June 20 and July 4, 2018, Professor Irwin Cotler appeared before the European Union's Foreign Affairs Committee and the Israeli Knesset's Lobby for Returning Soldiers Home underlining the egregious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law being committed by the Palestinian Authority, a state party to the Rome Statute and International Criminal Court that purports to represent all the Palestinian people, including Hamas. 

At the hearings, Professor Cotler emphasized the case to be not merely an Israeli one, but a case anchored in international law that necessitates the involvement of the entire international community. Such involvement entails making representations to the Palestinian Authority forcing them to implement their obligations with respect to addressing and redressing their international humanitarian law obligations. The European Union, an institution not only dedicated to human rights and humanitarian law, but one which provides Gaza with significant humanitarian assistance, has a particular role to play in this regard. 

The case and cause of Hadar Goldin embodies what the EU and much of the international community calls for: a rules-based international order that prioritizes compliance with international humanitarian law obligations and the combatting of cultures of impunity. We must not relent in our pursuit of justice for, as Professor Cotler emphasized at the hearings, we are “trustees of international humanitarian law [having] both an individual and collective responsibility to see that these international humanitarian law obligations are both respected and enforced”.