Gaza complains to UN over Goldstone follow-up 7Feb11 February 8, 2011

Ma’an News Agency -  7 February 2011

Gaza Minister of Justice Mohammed Faraj Al-Ghoul reportedly sent a letter to UN officials last week, asking why the international body had failed to follow-up on local efforts to respond to allegations outlined in the Goldstone report.

According to a Monday report by the Hamas-affiliated Palestine Information Center, Al-Ghoul wrote that “Despite the Palestinian government’s commitment to follow the report’s recommendations … authorities in Gaza have not received any response or comments” on a series of documents sent to the UN Human Rights Council.

In Justice Richard Goldstone’s report, which investigated reports of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in December 2008 to January 2009, UN experts found evidence of the crimes and recommended that both Israel and Palestine set up internal commissions to bring justice. If the nations were unable to conduct impartial inquiries, his report recommended that the issue be transferred to the International Criminal Court.

Al-Ghoul said in his letter that the Gaza government had set up an independent board to follow-through on the recommendations of the Goldstone report, and said that thus far, had “fulfilled its obligations according to recommendations by the Human Rights Council.”

The report did not say what the findings of any of the investigations were, or whether any parties were brought to trial.

Goldstone noted in his report that the launching of projectiles into Israeli civilian areas could constitute a war crime, and should be investigated.

Israel, which refused to participate in the Goldstone fact-finding mission, launched a military inquiry, investigated allegations of misconduct and reprimanded at least three officers.

During the operation, more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed, at least half of whom were women and children. Another 5,000 were injured and 6,000 homes destroyed, according to the UN.

Also in his statement, Al-Ghoul welcomed UN Human Rights Council Commissioner Nawitham Pillay the region. The officials was set to tour Palestinian villages in East Jerusalem on Monday, and set to be briefed on the current situation in the days to come.

On Sunday, a group of 13 Palestinian and Israeli rights organizations asked Pillay to push the UN on its dealings with the Goldstone report. During the last session of the General Assembly, Ban gave Israeli and Palestinian officials an extended period of time to investigate the report’s allegations internally.

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