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Family seeks justice from ICC after al-Sharif's 'murderer' convicted of manslaughter

Jan. 4, 2017 3:59 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 5, 2017 5:01 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- After an Israeli military court Wednesday convicted Israeli soldier Elor Azarya with manslaughter for the point-blank shooting of Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif, members of al-Sharif’s family vowed to take the case to the International Criminal Court (ICC), arguing the video-documented case was in fact cold-blooded murder.

The family organized a protest during the court hearing, joined by representatives of Palestinian organizations and political groups. Hundreds attended the protest, located at Ibn Rushd Square in the center of Hebron city in the southern occupied West Bank, not far from where al-Sharif was killed.

A spokesperson for the family expressed outrage that the “murderer” of their son was convicted only with manslaughter, saying they would “expose the military court as a farce, just as other cases of criminal acts carried out by Israeli forces and settlers against our people.”

He added that the family would "follow our political leadership" and take the case to the ICC and would "go after the murderer at all possible international judicial forums."
Al-Sharif’s father, Fathi al-Sharif, told Israeli daily Haaretz after the shooting: “The fact that the soldier is convicted of manslaughter isn’t such an important development from our standpoint. From the beginning, we stated that he had committed murder and needed to be convicted of murder. The fact that they changed the count of the indictment to manslaughter from our standpoint is a perversion of justice and of the court.”

Sharif added: “The question that remains open is what sentence will be imposed on him, and we don’t have many expectations. It’s clear that he will receive a light sentence or be pardoned, because we are following (the developments) and understand the pressures being exerted upon the system and the sympathy that the soldier has been attracting in Israeli society.”
Al-Sharif was one of 247 Palestinians to be killed by Israelis since a wave of unrest began in October 2015 that left 34 Israelis dead in the same period.

The majority of Palestinians were shot dead after alleged attacks and attempted attacks on Israeli soldiers and settlers. However, Palestinians and rights groups have disputed Israel's version of events in many of these deadly encounters.

In a number of cases, they have argued that Palestinians were not attempting to carry out attacks at all, while in others, they have condemned Israeli forces for their excessive use of force where there was no imminent danger, in killings they say amount to "extrajudicial executions" as Israeli leadership has openly advocated for a shoot-to-kill policy against Palestinians.

In recent years, the Palestinian leadership has made a concerted effort to apply pressure on Israel through a variety of international bodies such as the UN and International Criminal Court.
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