Amnesty: Hezbollah guilty of war crimes


September 14, 2006

(CNN) -- Amnesty International Thursday released a scathing report accusing Hezbollah of war crimes, during a month-long war with Israel.

"The scale of Hezbollah's attacks on Israeli cities, towns and villages, the indiscriminate nature of the weapons used, and statements from the leadership confirming their intent to target civilians, make it all too clear that Hezbollah violated the laws of war," said Amnesty International's Secretary General Irene Khan.

"The fact that Israel has also committed serious violations in no way justifies violations by Hezbollah. Civilians must not be made to pay the price for unlawful conduct on either side."

Amnesty International said its report is based on field research in Israel and Lebanon, as well as interviews with victims, official statements, and discussions with Israeli, Lebanese and Hezbollah officials.

"In the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel, the suffering of civilians on both sides has been repeatedly ignored with those responsible escaping all accountability," said Khan.

"Justice is urgently needed if respect for the rules of war is ever to be taken seriously -- and that means accountability for the perpetrators of war crimes and reparations for the victims."

The report calls for the United Nations to carry out a "comprehensive, independent and impartial inquiry."

During the month-long conflict, Hezbollah fired thousands of rockets into northern Israel, killing 43 civilians and seriously injuring 33 others, according to Amnesty International.