UN rights chief backs Gaza conflict report

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] publicly supported [text] the final report [text, PDF] of the UN Fact Finding Mission of the Gaza Conflict [official website] on Wednesday, calling its conclusions sound. The report, originally adopted [JURIST report] by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] in October, accused both Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) [official website] and Hamas [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] fighters of war crimes during the 2008-2009 Gaza conflict [JURIST news archive]. Pillay praised the mission for its methodology, and the report itself for promoting accountability:


In a 60 year-long conflict marred by egregious human rights violations, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for example, cynics are often ready to label accountability as utopia or, at least, as wishful thinking. However, the United Nations Fact Finding Mission succeeded in placing the acute need for accountability on the international community’s agenda, compelling different and often opposing constituencies to take note of the facts documented and the calls for justice from victims on all sides.
The report was met with criticism [Reuters report] from both Israeli and Hamas leaders, which Pillay dismissed as politically motivated.

Earlier this month, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official website] said that it was unclear whether Israel and Palestine have fully met UN demands [JURIST reports] to set up a commission to investigate war crimes that may have occurred the conflict. Also this month, the Israeli Foreign Ministry [official website] released a 46-page report [JURIST report] to the UN, partially detailing Israeli operations in Gaza and revealing that the Israeli military had disciplined two high-ranking Army officers for firing shells into a populated area in the Gaza strip. Hamas also reported to the UN that it completed an independent investigation, finding that Palestinian forces innocent of any wrongdoing and that the Israeli civilian deaths were an accident.

 

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