Gaza war crimes report endorsed by UN Human Rights Council.
Byline: Daily Star Staff
Summary: The UN Human Rights Council voted Friday to endorse a report on last winter's Gaza conflict that calls on Israel and authorities in Gaza to carry out credible investigations into alleged abuses - or face possible referral to international war crimes prosecutors.AaThe decision means that Israel could find itself facing a request at the UN Security Counci.
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GENEVA: The UN Human Rights Council voted Friday to endorse a report on last winter's Gaza conflict that calls on Israel and authorities in Gaza to carry out credible investigations into alleged abuses -- or face possible referral to international war crimes prosecutors.AaThe decision means that Israel could find itself facing a request at the UN Security Council to refer the case to prosecutors at the International Criminal Court in The Hague -- whose jurisdiction Israel does not accept.
Although a US veto at the Security Council would be virtually assured, Friday's decision will keep attention on the report, compiled by an expert panel chaired by respected Aa Aa jurist A judge or legal scholar; an individual who is versed or skilled in law.
The term jurist is ordinarily applied to individuals who have gained respect and recognition by their writings on legal topics.
jurist n. Richard Goldstone Richard J. Goldstone, (born October 26, 1938), South African judge and international war crimes prosecutor. Early life
After graduating from the University of the Witwatersrand with a BA LLB cum laude in 1962 he practised as an Advocate at the Johannesburg Bar. .
Israel bitterly denounced Friday's decision, with officials arguing that continuing the course of the Goldstone gold·stone
An aventurine with gold-colored inclusions.
Noun 1. goldstone - aventurine spangled densely with fine gold-colored particles report would embolden em·bold·en
tr.v. em·bold·ened, em·bold·en·ing, em·bold·ens
To foster boldness or courage in; encourage. See Synonyms at encourage. terror groups around the world -- with nations reluctant to fight them for fear of facing the same fate as Israel.
The 575-page report concluded that Israel used disproportionate force, deliberately targeted civilians, used Palestinians as human shields human shield Forensic medicine A person used to protect a kidnapper, terrorist, or combatant from gunfire and destroyed civilian infrastructure Civilian infrastructure refers to hospitals, schools, places of worship, housings, utility facilities, or the like. It is a war crime to attack civilian infrastructure. during its December 27-January 18 campaign, which Israel claimed was to root out Palestinian rocket squads.
It also accused Palestinian armed groups including Hamas -- which controls Gaza -- of deliberately targeting civilians and trying to spread terror through rocket attacks on southern Israel. In the years leading up to the conflict Israel absorbed thousands of rocket attacks, which caused only a handful of fatalities but badly disrupted life in the area neighboring neigh·bor
1. One who lives near or next to another.
2. A person, place, or thing adjacent to or located near another.
3. A fellow human.
4. Used as a form of familiar address.
Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza since Hamas were elected to rule the area. During the campaign 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.
Friday's decision to endorse this approach followed two days of debate. The Palestinian-backed resolution passed 25-6, with mostly developing countries in favor. The US and five European countries -- Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia and Ukraine -- opposed the move.
Eleven mostly European and African countries abstained, including Britain, France and three other members of the 47-nation body. Russia and China, two permanent members of the UN Security Council, were among those voting in favor.
In order to be adopted, a UN Security Council resolution must get nine yes votes, and no veto by a permanent member.
The US is likely to use its veto to block any call to get the International Criminal Court involved in the dispute or to take action against Israel.
Palestinians hope that, if the court accepts its request, court prosecutor Moreno Ocampo would then have jurisdiction to launch an investigation into war crimes committed by both sides during the Gaza conflict even without an order from the Security Council. Israel does not accept the court's jurisdiction. Ocampo had no comment Friday.
In occupied Ramallah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Mahmoud Abbas (Arabic: محمود عباس) (born March 26, 1935), also known by the kunya Abu Mazen welcomed Friday's vote.
"What is important now is to translate words into deeds in order to protect our people in the future from any new aggression," Nabil Abu Rdeneh said.
Israel and the US called the Goldstone report "flawed" because it ignored Israel's right to defend its people from Palestinian rocket fire. They warned that the vote could jeopardize Middle East peace prospects.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman Avigdor Lieberman (Hebrew: אביגדור ליברמן), also Liberman also said endorsing the report could have far-reaching consequences.
"Whoever votes in favor of endorsing the report must understand that next time it will be the soldiers and officers of NATO NATO: see North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
in full North Atlantic Treaty Organization
International military alliance created to defend western Europe against a possible Soviet invasion. in Afghanistan, and then Russian soldiers and officers in Chechnya," Lieberman said late Thursday.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said the resolution "provides encouragement for terrorist organizations worldwide and undermines global peace." US diplomat Douglas M. Griffiths told the council that Washington was disappointed with the outcome of the vote.
"We're focused on moving forward in the peace process and we feel that this is a distraction from that," Griffiths said.
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