“From the bodies we saw, there were rapes”: A complex investigation into sex crimes committed by Hamas in Israel

David Katz, one of the heads of the Lahav 443 Criminal Police Unit, announced that he was working on “several cases” of sexual assault, collecting forensic evidence from survivors, CCTV footage and information provided during the interrogation of Palestinian militants arrested after the massacre. “This trial (…) is the most important in our history,” Israel’s Chief Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai said.

According to legal experts interviewed by AFP, the October 7 attacks could constitute war crimes, which include rape as defined in the 1998 Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Mr. According to Katz, police released some of the documents to the international press that will serve as the basis for the investigation, which will take “several months.”

A photograph taken at the scene of a rave party in Reims (south), the target of the attack, shows the body of a woman lying naked on the ground on her back with her legs apart, showing symptoms. Burns on hips and limbs. Another photo is of a naked woman, legs spread, her underwear pulled down.

The police replayed a filmed interview of a survivor of the rave party massacre. A young woman named “S” describes seeing a woman being raped by several men: “They grabbed her by the hair. One shot her in the head while he was raping her,” she says.

Hamas sees US accusations as “green light for new massacres” at hospitals

DNA, photographs

Most of the victims of rapes and other sexual violence, including genital mutilation, on October 7 were killed and will never be able to testify,” says Gochav Elkayam Levy, head of the parliamentary commission on crimes against women, on October 7.

See also  "Do not kill": in Russia, the last rebellious priests

Dean Elstunneh, a spokesman for the Israeli police, assures that forensic tests were carried out in the “war zone” on the “recovered bodies” which were then ‘transported to the Shura military base in the center of Israel’.

“We know from the bodies we saw on the ground that there was rape and sexual assault,” he told reporters. When they arrived at the Shura, “we collected visual clues, DNA evidence, we took detailed photographs of the bodies,” though not all of them underwent autopsies, the causes of death.

Of the 1,200 bodies registered, police said “hundreds” were in a highly decomposed state. From the first week, testimonies from Jaga rescuers, among the first on the scene, mention rapes.

Alon Oz, a doctor in charge of the remains of “hundreds of soldiers” who were among the victims at the Shura Body Identification Center on October 7, told AFP he saw “women burned with their hands and feet tied”. “I saw a head and limbs missing in private parts (…),” he said.

“Broken Hip”

Another worker, who was in charge of the mortuary toilet and asked to be identified only as Sherry, told AFP that some of the soldiers had “bloody underwear”. “Others in the team saw broken hips, legs and pelvis,” he added.

When Hamas militants blew up the Erez border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, they soon reached an Israeli military base dedicated to guarding the border, a task only performed by female soldiers.

According to the testimonies of survivors, many women were abducted there. In a video released by Hamas, one of them was seen pulling his hair from the back of a vehicle in Gaza, with bruises on his ankles and a red stain on the back of his trousers.

See also  As China grapples with an outbreak of Covid-19, Europe fears repercussions

In this case, investigator David Katz says he cannot establish that Hamas gave instructions to rape the women, but he assures that “nothing was done by accident.”

Parents of hostages, at least 80 of the 240 are women and girls, shudder at the prospect of sexual violence against their loved ones while in custody, according to an AFP tally.

Images of 22-year-old Israeli-German Shani Luke, who appeared topless in the back of a pick-up in Gaza and was manhandled by men, have gone viral and created an atmosphere of concern. The death of the young woman who attended the rave party was confirmed by Israeli authorities in October.

A protocol is already in place for hospitals that can accommodate freed hostages. It was designed by feminist and victim support associations who sensitized all staff about attentive care.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *