Appendix V: Selected testimony and reports
Part 2: Evidence relating to Israeli conduct of the war in Lebanon
Troy Rusli, Norwegian, is a surgeon who worked in Lahout Field Hospital from 15 July to the end of August. He was interviewed by the Commission on 4 October 1982 at the Gaza Hospital in Beirut.
Commission: Have you as a doctor come across any wounds, caused by weapons which are banned by International Law?
The fourth type of weapons that has been used is high explosive bombs. I don’t know if that is allowed under the Geneva Convention or not, but it cause a lot of casualties. In one day we had eighty persons living in a cellar, and this type of bomb exploded in the cellar, I believe thirty persons were directly killed from these bombs, and fifty were injured, burn injuries, and 22 of these come to our hospital. From these 22, five die. They have about second and third degree burn injuries.
Concerning the patient, for me, whether it is from phosphorus shells or from high explosive bombs, or this high velocity weapon, the patient have to be amputated anyway, so I believe all five weapons are very dangerous to be used on civilians.
Q: You have given us this list of banned weapons. Can you tell us, with the patients you’ve treated personally, which kind of wounds did you come across?
Rusli: We have treated two patients who I am clinically sure have phosphorus bomb injuries. We have got fifty patients with high explosive burn injuries, and many of the rest have this kind of high velocity weapon injury. These very often end with amputation; the rate of amputation in our hospital is between fifteen and twenty per cent.
Q: You have seen people burnt allegedly with phosphorus?
Rusli: Yes we have, clinically speaking. Phosphorus is very difficult to detect. . . I try to take some sample to the American University Hospital, but they cannot say that it is phosphorus or not. So when I say clinically, I mean we found shrapnel inside the body still burning and smoking. We have two patients like this; one, which is an old man, have smoke coming through the breath, through his lungs.
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Auden Tommesen: I would like to give two case descriptions of patients with chemical burns; the suspected causative agent is a thermal chemical artillery grenade. On Monday 2 August in the morning we. received a 20-year-old patient, male, in an unconscious state, with normal cardial and neurological findings. According to ambulance personnel he was a casualty of the day before and he had been treated in an emergency centre down town before admission to Lahout. His only obvious lesions were multiple, about 15 to 20 round craters in the skin, ranging from a few millimetres to about 7 to 8 centimetres in diameter. They were distributed on the right side of the body, leg, right trunk, right arm, right side of the neck and the head. The lesions consisted in chemical burns, with coagulation necrosis of the tissues in and immediately around the lesions. In the craters were found small greyish particles, in an amount of about, let’s say, half a teaspoon in a crater of about 6 centimetres in diameter. The particles were later submitted to chemical analysis.
Tommesen: In Norway, in a laboratory. Later the same day we received a recently injured 60-year-old man, civilian, Palestinian, living in one of the refugee camps. Before admission to Lahout he had been padded and bandaged in an emergency centre down town. Only a belt around the mid