UN rights council says experts to monitor Gaza war crimes probes 26Mar10 March 26, 2010

The United Nations Human Rights Council voted Thursday to establish a committee to monitor investigations by Israel and the Palestinians into allegations of human rights violations and war crimes.

The council adopted a resolution to “establish a committee of independent experts in international humanitarian and human rights laws to monitor and assess any domestic, legal or other proceedings undertaken by both the Government of Israel and the Palestinian side.”

The United States and some European Union countries, including Italy and the Netherlands, voted against the resolution tabled by Arab and Islamic nations. Britain, France, Japan, Norway and seven other states abstained, while the remaining members of the 47-state council voted in favor.

The fact-finding mission of Justice Richard Goldstone last year recommended that the sides conduct independent investigations into
his report, which charged that war crimes may have taken place during
the 2008-2009 conflict in the Gaza Strip.

Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, was tasked
with appointing the experts.

Pillay’s most recent report on Israel and the Palestinian territories found that both sides were failing to adequately investigate human rights violations committed during the period of intense fighting.

The UN Human Rights Council also suggested Thursday that Israel should
pay Palestinians reparations for loss and damages suffered during last year’s war in the Gaza Strip.

The 47-nation council isn’t calling for similar payments by Palestinians to Israelis. The proposal by Pakistan was backed Thursday by a majority of 29 to 6 in a vote by the Geneva-based body. There were 11 abstentions.

The resolution also suggests that the International Committee of the Red Cross should investigate Israel’s alleged use of white phosphorus, an incendiary munition, during the three week conflict.

UN Human Rights Council passes 3 resolutions condemning Israel

The United Nations Human Rights Council passed three resolutions on Wednesday condemning Israel over its policies related to what it called Palestinian and Syrian territories, but the United States voted against them all.

One resolution on “grave human rights violations” by Israel Defense Forces soldiers in the Palestinian territories – which was passed by 31 votes to 9, with 7 abstentions in the 47-member Council – demanded that Israel end its occupation of Palestinian land occupied since 1967.

It also demanded that Israel stop what it called targeting of Palestinian civilians and systematic destruction of their cultural heritage, halt all military operations across Palestinian land and lift its blockade of Gaza.
Haaretz -  25 March 2010

The United States and the European Union, whose seven members on the Council vote separately but generally in unison, opposed the resolution, with both saying it was unbalanced

Another resolution called on Israel to stop building all settlements and move to withdrawing those now there, was passed by 45 votes with the EU supporting it and only the United States opposing.

The third condemned Israel for what it called systematic violation of the rights of the people of the Golan Heights. The United States voted no, while 15 countries, including EU members, abstained.

The United States, which itself is in a diplomatic row with Israel over settlements which the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is vowing to pursue, told the Council that the three resolutions would do nothing to help peace.

It said the body was too often being used as a platform to single out Israel for condemnation while rights violations by other countries were ignored.

Britain, which expelled an Israeli diplomat on Tuesday in a row over forged U.K. passports, voted for the settlements resolution, against on Palestinian rights, and abstained on the Syrian vote.

The Council is effectively dominated by a developing country bloc in which the Organization of the Islamic Conference has a strong influence and which is routinely supported by China, Russia and Cuba

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