Gaza govt sends Goldstone updates to UN



Published Mar 16, 2011

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The Gaza government committee appointed to follow-up on recommendations set out by the Goldstone Commission has handed its response to the questions received from the Human Rights Council’s committee of independent experts.

The Human Rights Council will consider on 21 March a second report of a Committee of Independent Experts which the council mandated to assess the Israeli and Palestinian investigations into serious violations of international law committed by Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups during the 22-day war 2008/2009.

The UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, commissioned by the Human Rights Council and headed by South African Justice Richard Goldstone, found in September 2009 that the violations committed by both sides included war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity. It recommended that the Israeli authorities and the relevant authorities in the Gaza Strip be required to investigate serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law reported by the Mission.

If the authorities failed to conduct independent investigations meeting international standards within six months, the Mission recommended that the UN Security Council refer the issue to the International Criminal Court.

Deputy chief of the de facto government’s Goldstone follow up committee Yousif Rizqa said Tuesday that his government accepted all international commissions on the issue “in order to make sure Israeli occupation will not go unpunished.”

He, however, pointed out that many international commissions and organizations “mostly often side with the powerful side and there is a big difference between the occupation state’s military power, and the Palestinian people who are the victims.”

Rizqa highlighted that Israel refused to cooperate with the Goldstone Mission and all other committees that emerged later including the committee of independent experts mandated by the Human Rights Council.

“Ever since it was established, the occupation government has been trying to be above international law and UN resolutions and they always had the needed support to do so from the US.”

As of the committee of independent expert’s suspicions about the integrity of investigations in Gaza, Rizqa said, “The committee did not suspect or reject the investigations conducted by the government in Gaza, but rather said the investigation was incomplete and needed completion.”

The official explained that the government in Gaza mandated a committee of independent experts from Arab countries recognized internationally for their credibility. The committee, he added, has submitted answers to the questions the Committee of Independent Experts added.

The follow up committee under the ministry of justice in Gaza filed a report with in-detail answers and submitted it before deadline which is 14 March. The government in Gaza, added Rizqa, consider the answers credible, transparent and persuasive.

“In Gaza, we have nothing to hide from Human Rights organizations simply because we are the victim and we want the international community to be just with us.”


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