PCHR Press Release: PLO Must Pursue ‘Goldstone’ Accountability at UN General Assembly 11Aug11 August 13, 2011

11 August 2011

The 2011 session of the UN General Assembly, which begins in New York on 13 September, offers an important opportunity to pursue accountability for the victims of Israel’s 27 December 2008 – 18 January 2009 offensive on the Gaza Strip (Operation ‘Cast Lead’).

However, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has declared that is focus during the upcoming General Assembly will be directed towards recognition of the Palestinian State and, to-date, no concrete mention has been made of the ‘Goldstone’ Report and the pursuit of accountability vis-a-vis Operation Cast Lead.

This lack of discussion in the General Assembly, and the apparent lack of political will to adopt and raise this issue, risks setting a dangerous precedent; justice cannot be sacrificed on the basis of perceived political interests. It is unacceptable that victims’ rights be disregarded in the name of political expediency, as has happened too often in the past, including at the Human Rights Council in September 2009 when the PLO’s representative attempted to dismiss the Report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (the ‘Goldstone’ Report) from the agenda of the Council’s meeting.

In March 2011, following a two year process – and as a result of all sides failure to conduct domestic investigations in accordance with the requirements of international law – the UN Human Rights Council recommended that the upcoming session of the UN General Assembly submit the Report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission to the Security Council for appropriate action, including a Chapter VII referral of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory to the International Criminal Court.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reiterates that, as a result of all parties proven failure to initiate credible investigations and prosecutions, an investigation by the International Criminal Court is the appropriate and necessary response to the crimes committed during Operation Cast Lead. The upcoming session of the General Assembly therefore offers an unparalleled opportunity to advance victims’ rights, and to ensure that those suspected of committing war crimes are held to account.

PCHR affirm that there is no contradiction between the unequivocal recognition of Palestinian statehood, and the pursuit of accountability and justice. The increased recognition of Palestinian statehood is of the outmost importance in light of the long-history of occupation and the Palestinian people’s struggle for self-determination. Equally, the pursuit of justice, accountability and human rights are the bedrock on which any state must be established. As the unequivocal recognition of the Palestinian state approaches, this must be accompanied by an unequivocal affirmation of universal human rights.

PCHR stress that the PLO must have a clear political decision to make the Goldstone Report apriority, and must exert all efforts to ensure that the Report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission is debated in the General Assembly, with the aim of securing a Security Council referral to the International Criminal Court.

Victims are not political bargaining chips.

 

For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza , Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 – 2825893
PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip. E-mail: pchr@pchrgaza.org, Webpage http://www.pchrgaza.org


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