UN panel criticizes Israel, Hamas investigations into Gaza conflict

The UN panel of experts tasked with monitoring and assessing investigations into alleged war crimes during the 2008-2009 conflict in the Gaza Strip issued a report Sept. 21 criticizing the investigations being carried out by both Israel and Hamas, but positively assessing the work of the Palestinian Authority. According to the report, the Palestinian Authority’s work in this area comports with international standards. However the work of Israel is assessed more harshly:

The Committee does not have any information on whether Israel has undertaken investigations into the allegations raised in the FFM report concerning IHRL violations in the West Bank. In this regard, Israel has not met its duty, under the International Covenant or under the Convention against Torture, to investigate these claims. Similarly, there is no indication that Israel has opened investigations into the actions of those who designed, planned, ordered and oversaw “Operation Cast Lead.”

The panel was also critical of Hamas’ investigatory work:

The de facto authorities in Gaza established two committees of inquiry. The report of the first Committee, made up of officials of the de facto Gaza authorities, makes no serious effort to address the allegations detailed in the FFM report against the de facto authorities in Gaza; it focuses primarily on the allegations directed against Israel. The second report, prepared by three national and three international legal experts, provides some information about the actual measures taken to redress the violations that were alleged, but fails to substantiate assertions that all political prisoners have been released and criminal prosecutions have taken place in response to the FFM report. On the basis of the information before it, the Committee cannot conclude that credible and genuine investigations have been carried out by the de facto authorities in the Gaza Strip.”

The UN Human Rights Council is set to discuss the panel’s conclusions next week.

The report is a follow-up to the Goldstone report, which was issued one year ago. In February, the UN General Assembly voted to give the Israelis and Palestinians additional time to finish their separate investigations into alleged human rights violations that took place during the 2008-2009 conflict in Gaza. In November 2009, the UN had originally adopted a resolution giving the two parties three months to complete an independent investigation.

From Jurist, Sept. 21. Used with permission.

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