15,000 Pages of Documents Previously Obtained by CCR Show U.S. Blocking Efforts at Accountability
May 30, 2017, San Francisco – the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a “friend of the court” brief to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a case brought by the parents of an American teenager killed by Israeli commandos. Eighteen-year-old human rights defender Furkan Doğan was shot five times, including in the face at point-blank range, when Israeli soldiers raided the Mavi Marmara in international waters in 2010. The ship was part of a six-boat flotilla that attempted to break the siege of Gaza and deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians suffering under Israel’s closure of the Gaza Strip. In the lawsuit, Doğan’s parents are seeking accountability for the extrajudicial killing and torture of their son.
“The first responsibility of our government is to protect its citizens,” said Craig Corrie of the Rachel Corrie Foundation. “It is outrageous that our government chooses instead to protect a foreign government when it kills our citizens. It is outrageous foreign policy, domestic policy, and outrageous as a matter of law.”
Attorneys say international and U.S. law clearly provide accountability and redress for extrajudicial killing and torture by former foreign government officials. The lawsuit was filed under the Alien Tort Statute and the Torture Victim Protection Act. A district court dismissed the case after the U.S. government submitted a “suggestion of immunity” for the defendant in the case, former Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, following a request to the State Department by the Israeli government.
“This case is yet another example of the U.S. government’s readiness to disregard its human rights obligations in order to protect Israel instead of protecting its own citizens,” said Center for Constitutional Rights Senior Staff Attorney Katherine Gallagher. “Immunity for extrajudicial killing flies in the face of U.S. obligations to punish serious human rights violations and provide victims a remedy.”
Through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation, CCR obtained more than 15,000 pages of documents demonstrating that the United States declined to conduct an independent investigation into Furkan Doğan’s death and undercut efforts at the international level for Israel to be held accountable.
CCR submitted the amicus brief with the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, which was founded by the family of 23-year-old U.S. human rights defender Rachel Corrie, who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer while blocking the demolition of a Palestinian home in Gaza. CCR previously represented the Corrie family and four Palestinian families in a lawsuit against Caterpillar, Inc., which supplied the Israel Defense Forces with the bulldozers.
Read the amicus brief filed here.
The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice continues the work of human rights activist and observer Rachel Corrie. The 501(c)3 nonprofit conducts and supports programs that foster connections between peoples, that build understanding, respect, and appreciation for differences, and that promote cooperation within and between local and global communities. Through grassroots efforts, the foundation fosters the pursuit of human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice, as pre-requisites for world peace.