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Rachel Corrie trial resumes

March 31, 2011 5:10 P.M. (Updated: April 1, 2011 6:16 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The civil lawsuit brought by parents of slain American peace activist Rachel Corrie against the state of Israel will resume Sunday, the foundation named after her said Wednesday.

The Haifa district court will open hearings on April 3 and 6, in which Israeli soldiers and colleagues of Corrie who were present at her death will testify, according to the statement.

Corrie was killed in on March 16, 2003, when the 23-year-old International Solidarity Movement activist was crushed by a bulldozer as she protested a Palestinian home from demolition in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.

The commander of the unit driving the bulldozer is expected to testify in public as his identity is already well-known, in contrast to most military witnesses who have appeared behind a screen, the foundation said. The Corrie family's appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court for all witnesses to appear openly in court was denied.

The civil trial began in March 2010. Hearings on September 5 and November 4 saw the driver and commander of the bulldozer that struck Corrie testify, before a five month recess.

"Corrie's case forms a new test for the Israeli judicial system. This case will give this system another chance to show that it is able to work as an independent system that seeks to achieve justice and apply the law, rather than continue to entrench its politicized attitude by seeking to shield [Israeli forces]" a joint release by rights groups Al-Mezan, Al Dameer, and Gaza Community Mental Health Program said.

Corrie's mother said: “As we now witness young people in the Middle East protesting non-violently and struggling for their freedoms and human rights, this trial seems ever more relevant,” according to the foundations statement.

“While our family continues to seek accountability from the Israeli Government for their response to Rachel’s nonviolent action, we insist that all governments and militaries respect the right of people to peaceably assemble and protest, that they respond nonviolently to such protests, and that they be accountable for their actions,” she added.
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