On June 29, 2016, the parents of Afnan, Wassim, Jihad, Oday, and Basel lodged a complaint against the French company Exxelia Technologies for complicity in war crimes and involuntary manslaughter.
Among the remnants of the missile fired at the Shuheibar’s house was a component manufactured in France. With the help of photographer Anne Paq who photographed the debris, ACAT (L’Action des Chrétiens pour l’Abolition de la Torture) and its Palestinian partner documented the attack, collected testimonies, and had the missile remnants analyzed by two independent military experts.
The experts’ reports establish that the French component found at the scene of the attack is a Hall effect sensor, manufactured by the French company Eurofarad, now named Exxelia Technologies after its acquisition by Exxelia Group in 2015. The component is part of a small missile fired from the air, most likely by drone.
Survivors and witnesses assert that no military target existed in the house at the time of attack or otherwise. The only casualties of the attack were civilians – the five kids that were feeding pigeons on the roof of their house. In addition, the occupants of the house were not warned of the upcoming attack. In some instances, during the offensive, Israeli army had warned the inhabitants of the targeted houses to evacuate before the bombing. The attack on the house that resulted in civilians being killed and extensive property damage was therefore illegal and may constitute a war crime.
The Shuheibar family, represented by the law firm Ancile-avocats, accuses the French company of complicity in a war crime or, at minimum, of involuntary manslaughter, upon the establishment that the sensor was indeed sold to the Israeli military.
Two years have passed since operation “Protective Edge”, in which at least 1,462 Palestinian civilians were killed, including 551 children and 299 women and six Israeli civilians. The Israeli authorities have conducted no credible investigation on illegal direct attacks against civilians.
In the face of this blatant impunity, victims have no other choice but to seek justice themselves before other courts. The presence of a French component on an attack site represents a rare opportunity to reach the French courts, in the hope that the atrocity of the crime suffered by the Shuheibar family will finally be recognized and that responsibility for it will be established.
Furthermore, the purpose of the complaint is to make the military industry aware of its responsibilities and to call out France, which has played a leading role in the writing and adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty. This treaty prohibits states from exporting weapons, but also components, that could be used to commit war crimes.
The above summary has been prepared by ACAT, French human rights organization and a partner to this web documentary.
More about ACAT and the Shuheibar’s case (in French): ACAT’s press release
Other media reports: Maan news agency: Family of children killed in 2014 war on Gaza submits complaint to War Crimes Unit in France Electronic Intifada: Gaza family files complaint against French company for complicity in war crimes