UN criticises Gaza war crime probes

Human Rights Council panel finds both Hamas and Israel to have not investigated last year's alleged war crimes in Gaza.

    UN team has found both Palestine and Israel to have taken investigations into war crimes 'lightly' [GALLO/GETTY]

    A UN Human Rights Council team has criticised both Hamas and Israel for their failure to investigate alleged war crimes in Gaza last year.

    According to the panel's report, only junior Israeli officials were subjected to investigations, none of which were impartial. It has also blamed Israel for not cooperating with the panel's numerous requests for information and access to Israel and the West Bank.

    Christian Tomuschat, the panel's chairman, a law professor at Humboldt University in Berlin said, "Israel conducted investigations into many incidents, but only four resulted in criminal indictments, one of which led to a conviction for a credit card theft."

    In response to this report, Yigal Palmor, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, said the UN experts did not make use of the Israeli government's internal investigations, the results of which were shared with the global body.

    The report also found that an inquiry by Hamas "made no serious effort" to address allegations levelled against the Palestinian group by a previous UN panel led by South African Judge Richard Goldstone.

    Taher al Nunu, Hamas government spokesman, refuted the panel's findings and criticised UN Secretary-General.

    "Ban Ki-moon personally and the UN are biased in favour of the occupation (Israel) against the victims of the Gaza war." he said.

    The Geneva-based Human Rights Council will debate the panel's conclusions on Monday, on the day when it is scheduled to receive another report on Israel's military assault on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in which eight Turks and one Turkish-American were killed.

    The council, mainly represented by countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America, frequently monitors Israel.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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