UN names experts to Gaza war crimes panel

[JURIST] The UN Human rights Council [official website] on Monday appointed [press release] three experts to an international commission of inquiry to investigate alleged international humanitarian and human rights law violations committed by both Israelis and Palestinians during the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip. The goal of the commission [UN News Centre report] will be to establish the circumstances surrounding violations and crimes and determine who is responsible for them. It will also make recommendations to help avoid and end impunity and to protect civilians from further attacks. President of the UN Human Rights Council, Baudelaire Ndong Ella [official profile], named William Schabas, a Canadian professor of international law; Doudou Diene, a UN rights expert from Senegal and Amal Alamuddin, a British-Lebanese human rights attorney as the members of the panel. Despite her belief that "there should be an independent investigation and accountability for crimes that have been committed" in Gaza, Alamuddin has turned down [Huffington Post report] her position on the panel, citing existing commitments. The panel will conduct its investigation in the context of the military operations carried out in the occupied Gaza strip since June 13 and report its findings in March 2015.

The creation of a unified Palestinian government comes as tensions have risen in the Levant between Palestine and Israel. In July top Palestinian officials filed a complaint [JURIST report] to the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] accusing Israel of war crimes in Gaza. Earlier that month the UN Human Rights Council announced [JURIST report] its intention to create an international commission of inquiry that will investigate all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, specifically during Israel's latest military offensive in Gaza. In June UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon [official website] urged [JURIST report] Israel to release Palestinian administrative detainees over fears of failing health in a hunger strike. In April an independent UN human rights expert urged [JURIST report] Israel to prevent settlers from taking over a building in the West Bank city of Hebron. The house was strategically located between the illegal Israel settlement of Kiryat Arba and the Ibrahami Mosque, and Israeli settlement in the building had caused an increase in violence and harassment against Palestinians in the area. Also in April the United Nations confirmed [JURIST report] that Palestinian officials have delivered letters of accession to 15 international conventions and treaties.

 

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