Family of Palestinian activist killed by government forces call on ICC to investigate

Relatives say they will submit documents proving Palestinian Authority forces intentionally killed Nizar Banat

Palestinians rally in Ramallah city, in the occupied West Bank, in July last year, after the killing of activist Nizar Banat.  AFP
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The family of an activist killed during a raid by Palestinian security officials have asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the events that led to his death.

Nizar Banat was killed at his home in the West Bank city of Hebron in June last year.

His death sparked angry protests.

Supporters accused the Palestinian Authority of intentionally attacking the activist for his criticism of the government.

The death was ruled as "unnatural" in a postmortem carried out at the intervention of rights groups.

The activist's brother, Ghassan Banat, travelled to The Hague to hand over evidence to the ICC, Reuters reported.

"The International Criminal Court is our last hope to achieve justice for Nizar Banat," he said.

About "20 to 25 men" had barged into Nizar's room as he slept in their uncle's home, Ghassan told The National at the time of the incident last year .

The Palestinian Preventive Security officers "beat Nizar with metal rods and door breakers" Ghassan said.

The family claim this was an extrajudicial killing.

“There was not a single legal decision against Nizar – not even a warrant for interrogation, and I challenge anyone to prove otherwise,” the activist’s father, Khalil, said at the time.

Following the incident, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said the people responsible for Nizar's death would be held accountable and 14 low-ranking officers were charged. All have pleaded not guilty, Reuters said.

Stoke White Lawyers, the firm representing the Banat family, called the officers' trial "farcical", adding that they were subsequently temporarily released for a nine-day holiday this year.

The ICC has been investigating possible war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Israeli military or Palestinian groups in the Palestinian territories since March 2021.

Nizar's death heightened criticism of the PA under President Mahmoud Abbas, whose popularity has plummeted since he assumed office in 2005, opinion polls show. The incident sparked days of protests in the West Bank that were violently suppressed by Palestinian forces.

Updated: December 16, 2022, 9:34 AM