UN experts in Gaza to oversee war probes 14Aug10 August 15, 2010

Ma’an News Agency -  14 August 2010

The UN commission of independent experts appointed to monitor Israeli and Palestinian probes into allegations of war crimes during Operation Cast Lead arrived in Gaza on Saturday, Gaza’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

Ministry under-secretary Ahmad Yousef said the delegation arrived through the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt to follow up on recommendations made in justice Richard Goldstone’s report.

“The commission will come to monitor and evaluate the legal procedures on both the Israeli and Palestinian side on the Goldstone report, to ensure credibility and transparency during these investigations,” Yousef told Ma’an.

The committee, which includes prominent jurists Christian Tomuschat, Mary McGowan and Davis Param Cumaraswamy, will meet with civil society representatives, UN organizations and groups, as well as victims and witnesses who testified before the UN’s independent fact-finding committee shortly after the winter 2008-9 war.

Members will also meet with the Hamas government’s commission established to follow up with the recommendations of the Goldstone report, Yousef added.

The committee was created in June 2010, specifically tasked with monitoring Israeli and Palestinian investigations into the deadly conflict in the Gaza Strip that left more than 1,400 people dead and injured 5,000 others.

Its roots were in a March 2010 UN Human Rights Council call for the committee’s establishment to supervise “the independence, effective and genuineness of the investigations and their conformity with international standards,” the UN News Agency reported at the time.

“The committee will focus on the need to ensure accountability for all violations of international humanitarian and international human rights laws during the Gaza conflict, in order to prevent impunity, assure justice, deter further violations and promote peace,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said when the committee was established.

On 28 July 2010, the Gaza government delivered the second part of its follow-up report to the UN, responding to allegations brought forward by justice Richard Goldstone into Operation Cast Lead, officials said.


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