'Robust' UN steps needed on Gaza, lawyers say
The International Commission of Jurists on Thursday urged the UN Security Council to take “robust” steps to ensure that human rights violations during the Israeli military offensive on Gaza are prosecuted.
The ICJ, a campaign group for judges and lawyers, said its call referred to rights violations and breaches of International Humanitarian Law by both Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, in 2008/2009.
“The Security Council must take concrete and robust measures to ensure accountability for the perpetrators and justice for victims, and to this end consider the options at its disposal to break the cycle of impunity prevalent in this conflict, including by referring the situation in Gaza to the International Criminal Court,” said ICJ secretary general Wilder Tayler.
UN experts said on Tuesday that Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas failed to carry out credible and adequate probes into claims of war crimes committed during the conflict in Gaza nearly two years ago.
The experts’ mission was set up after a UN-mandated report by South African judge Richard Goldstone accused both Israel and Palestinian groups of war crimes during the three-week conflict which erupted in late December 2008.
Goldstone had asked for a follow-up to ensure both sides held “credible” investigations.
The ICJ argued in a statement that Israeli investigations had failed to meet international standards of “effectiveness, independence and impartiality”.
The Hamas administration in Gaza has also failed to show that it was investigating violations committed by Palestinian armed groups in December 2008 to January 2009, it added.
Tayler said the 47-member UN Human Rights Council, which set up the probes “must therefore assess these domestic proceedings and report accordingly to the UN General Assembly and Security Council.” The UN experts are due to present their findings to the council on Monday. - AFP.