PCHR: Israeli assault on Gaza must be investigated by ICC

Palestine Monitor
6 April 2011

“All political considerations must be put aside, and the rule of international law upheld.” -PCHR

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White Phosphorus shells fall on a UN school converted into shelter, Jabalya/Gaza, January 2009
Picture: AP

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) urges the international community and the General Assembly to push the UN Fact-Finding Mission’s Report on Operation Cast Lead, otherwise known as the Goldstone Report, through to the Security Council so that an effective judicial process can be undertaken by the International Criminal Court.

Less than a week after the Human Rights Council recommended to the General Assembly that the allegations of war crimes put forth in the Goldstone Report be investigated by the International Criminal Court, Richard Goldstone—the leader of the UN’s mission, published an editorial in the Washington Post that tempered the reports findings.

In Goldstone’s editorial, published in the Washington Post on 1 April, he redresses the report’s accusations that Israel intentionally targeted civilians, by citing the findings of Israel’s internal investigations. However, PCHR argues that the Israeli investigative process is deeply flawed, and therefore does not constitute a genuine investigation into allegations of war crimes that is required by international law.

In September 2010, the UN Committee of Independent Experts found that Israel had failed to open sufficient investigations into those responsible for “Operation Cast Lead.” According to PCHR, “The overwhelming majority of investigative procedures initiated by Israel have been closed on reaching the IDF’s apparently preordained conclusion that: ‘[t]hroughout the fighting in Gaza, the IDF operated in accordance with international law.’”

There have been only three judicial indictments against Israeli soldiers acting in “Operation Cast Lead,” all of which, according to PCHR, are inadequate to the actual crimes committed. One Israeli soldier was charged with theft of a credit card, receiving 7.5 months in jail and two soldiers were charged with using a child as a human shield, receiving a mere three months in prison.

PCHR emphasizes that Goldstone’s individual opinion should not undermine the other independent investigations that came to similar conclusions as the UN Fact-Finding Mission did, including those published by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the UN Board of Inquiry and the Fact-Finding Mission of the Arab League.

PCHR maintains that allegations related to Israel’s “direct targeting of civilians, widespread and indiscriminate attacks, choice of targets and methods of combat, and extensive destruction of public and private infrastructure” must be investigated. PCHR states, “None of these cases have been effectively addressed, and have not been ‘reconsidered’ by Justice Goldstone.”

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