UN human rights chief backs Gaza war crimes report.Byline: Daily Star Staff
Summary: The UN's top human rights official backed a report Thursday accusing Israeli forces and Palestinian militants of war crimes during their conflict in Gaza last winter.AaNavi Pillay's endorsement of the report by an expert group led by Judge 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. came as Israel warned the UN Human Rights Council that approving the document risked undermining Middle East peace.
GENEVA: The UN's top human rights official backed a report Thursday accusing Israeli forces and Palestinian militants of war crimes during their conflict in Gaza last winter.AaNavi Pillay's endorsement of the report by an expert group led by Judge Richard Goldstone came as Israel warned the UN Human Rights Council that approving the document risked undermining Middle East peace.
Pillay told the council she supported the report's recommendations, "including its call for urgent action to counter impunity" -- meaning that Israel and Hamas must investigate and prosecute those who committed war crimes.
The 575-page report concluded that Israel used disproportionate force, deliberately targeted civilians, used Palestinians as human shields, 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 incursion in·cur·sion
1. An aggressive entrance into foreign territory; a raid or invasion.
2. The act of entering another's territory or domain.
3. into the Gaza Strip Gaza Strip (gäz`ə), (2003 est. pop. 1,330,000) rectangular coastal area, c.140 sq mi (370 sq km), SW Asia, on the Mediterranean Sea adjoining Egypt and Israel, in what was formerly SW Palestine. to root out Palestinian rocket squads.
It accused Palestinian armed groups including Hamas of deliberately targeting civilians and trying to spread terror through rocket attacks on southern Israel.
Almost 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed during the three-week conflict.
Pillay said it was necessary for both sides "to carry out impartial, independent, prompt, and effective investigations into reported violations of human rights and humanitarian law" as recommended by the report.
Israeli Ambassador Aharon Leshno-Yaar rejected the Goldstone gold·stone
An aventurine with gold-colored inclusions.
Noun 1. goldstone - aventurine spangled densely with fine gold-colored particles report as "biased and flawed," warning that a vote endorsing the document "will set back hopes for peace." He accused the council, which has a history of passing resolutions critical of Israel, of using the report for more "Israel bashing."Aa
The United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. has taken a similar view that excessive attention to the report and alleged crimes in the Gaza war could hamper efforts to rejuvenate re·ju·ve·nate
tr.v. re·ju·ve·nat·ed, re·ju·ve·nat·ing, re·ju·ve·nates
1. To restore to youthful vigor or appearance; make young again.
2. peace efforts.
"We stand at an important moment, and must all be mindful of the larger context of ongoing efforts to restart permanent status negotiations that would lead to the creation of a Palestinian state The Palestinian state (Arabic (دولة فلسطين) is a proposed country. The proposed location includes the Gaza Strip and the autonomously controlled areas of the West Bank, currently controlled by the Palestinian National " said US diplomat Douglas M. Griffiths.
But Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said holding war criminals accountable and respect for human rights "are not obstacles to peace, but rather the preconditions on which trust and, ultimately, a durable peace can be built." The council is debating a resolution that would endorse the Goldstone report's recommendation for the Security Council in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of to determine within six months whether both sides are carrying out credible investigations into alleged abuses. If they aren't, the matter should then be referred to prosecutors at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.
The draft resolution suggests UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Ban Ki-Moon (bän kē-mn), 1944–, South Korean diplomat, secretary-general of the United Nations (2007–), b. Chungju, grad. Seoul National Univ. (B.S. should also monitor Israeli and Palestinian compliance with the report. A vote is expected Friday.
US and European diplomats are opposed to sending the report to the more powerful Security Council for action.
Washington supports calls for those responsible for violations to be held accountable, but wants this to be done by Israeli and Palestinian authorities themselves, said Griffiths, the US diplomat.
"Countries need and deserve the space to work through what processes will be most effective, and this cannot be dictated from outside," he said.
Palestinian and Israeli rights groups warned Thursday against burying the report.
"I don't think you can build a peace process on injustices that you try to sweep under the rug Verb 1. sweep under the rug - to conceal something in the hopes it won't be discovered by others; "The president tried to sweep the embarrassing incident under the rug" ," said Jessica Montell, head of the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem.
"We hope the Goldstone report doesn't end as piles of paper," added Raji Sourani Raji Sourani is widely considered the Gaza Strip's foremost human rights lawyer. He is the 1991 recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, and the founder and director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. , the director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.
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