Lavinia Moore (SA) writes to Senator Hanson-Young re Australia’s “no” vote on the Goldstone Report 12Nov09 November 13, 2009

I am writing to express my shock that Australia’s representative in the UN voted against the recommendations contained in the Goldstone Report. I was expecting an abstention, which I thought would have been bad enough.  But to vote against the recommendation that there be independent investigations into the allegations that war crimes and crimes against humanity did occur during Israel’s attack on Gaza in December 2008 to January 2009 is shocking.

What do they mean by this vote?  That they do not consider that the writer of the report was a credible researcher?  Or that given Israel refusal to cooperate with his enquiry that that ought to have ended any investigation once and for all?  Or that the writer was anti- Jewish or as some like to say, a self-hater?  Or that he ought not have listened to ordinary Palestinians about what happened?  What?

If his enquiry was insufficient to stand the test of a legal investigation, one that would withstand the rigour of legal scrutiny and be able to be used in a properly constituted court  such as the ICC, then why refuse to agree to conduct follow-up investigations that could provide the needed evidence?  What did the states that voted no have in their heads?

Some perhaps have a vested interest in not wanting such investigations to be carried out. They also may have something to hide or may not want a precedent set that might risk revealing crimes that they have committed or are about to commit.  But who gave the Australian government the right, even the idea that we as Australians want to prevent carrying out of a properly constituted and legal investigation into the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity.  That cannot be said to be in my name. Nor in the name of thousands of Australians.

Surely the days of Howard et al are over. I thought they were. The days when we breached international law and Human Rights and other conventions.  What is our current P.M. thinking of? What is his rationale?   What possible reason can he have to vote to prevent full investigations into what many suspect: that serious crimes against international law were committed?  Is he about to join the George Bushes of this world, those who think that war crimes is only what others do, and what we do is for example harsh interrogation methods?

The fact is that war crimes have been committed by people from many nations, ours included.   I happen to think that no matter who is alleged to have committed the crimes, those allegations must be fully and independently and legally investigated.  That is what Goldstone also believed. So I am with him.

I believe if a hypothetical were to be put to the average Australian on the street, ” should allegations of war crimes be properly investigated or should some people be granted immunity from investigation and subsequent prosecution?” I believe they would answer yes they must be investigated, and no, no one has immunity from prosecution if they have committed such crimes.   Failure to uphold the law, whether that is international law or state law is the way to permit tyranny, oppression and injustice and as someone once said “Justice denied anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.  That sadly seems to be more in need of remembering in this first decade of the 21st Century than it ever was before.

Can you raise the issue in the parliament?   I think that this is a matter of principle that the government must come clean about.

Thanks and keep up the good work,

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