Corrie verdict ‘travesty of justice’ says family
A court in Haifa ruled Tuesday that the state of Israel was not at fault over the death of US activist Rachel Corrie, who was killed in March 2003 as she tried to prevent a bulldozer from flattening a Palestinian home in Gaza.
An Israeli court on Tuesday cleared the military of any responsibility for the death of US peace campaigner Rachel Corrie who was killed by an army bulldozer in 2003, rejecting a civil suit filed by the family against the state of Israel.
Nine years after Corrie’s death, friends and relatives of the victims vented their frustration at the verdict, describing it as “a travesty of justice.”
In a courtroom packed with journalists in the northern city of Haifa, members of the Corrie family made no secret of their disappointment, though adding that it had been “expected”.
The 23-year-old member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a pro-Palestinian group, died in the Gaza Strip in March 2003 while trying to prevent an Israeli bulldozer from flattening a Palestinian home.
The Israeli judge in charge of the case called the event a “tragic accident” but exonerated the officers on board the machine at the time “of any blame for negligence”.
Rachel Corrie’s family said they had faced an “uphill battle” in Israeli courts to bring about “the truth concerning the circumstances surrounding Rachel’s death.”
Pushing back tears, Cindy Corrie, Rachel’s mother, said she was confronted by “a well-heeled system to protect the Israeli military, the soldiers who conduct actions in that military, and to provide them with impunity at the cost of all civilians who are impacted by what they do.”
The Corries had requested a symbolic $1 in damages and legal expenses, but Judge Oded Gershon said the state of Israel did not have to pay any damages.
‘The Israeli investigation was neither complete, nor credible’
The Israeli judge expressed criticism of the victim’s behavior at the time of the events. “Rachel Corrie did not move away from the area as any person in their right mind would have done,” he said.
He added that the driver of the bulldozer had a very limited field of vision and therefore could not have seen the victim.
Corrie’s supporters had argued that at least one of the two officers operating the bulldozer must have known she was there and thus intentionally hit her.
“American authorities continue to say that the Israeli investigation was neither complete nor credible,” the Corries added.
Last week the US ambassador in Tel Aviv, Dan Schapiro, said Israel had failed to carry out a “thorough, credible and transparent investigation” into the 23-year-old activist’s death.
The family has announced that it will appeal the Haifa verdict before Israel’s Supreme Court.
Cindy Corrie said “she wants to gain more insight into the thinking of the Israeli commanders who would give out such orders.”