The publication of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict report puts under test all the UN states and the members of the Human Rights Council.
A report of 574 pages presents an evidence that the State of Israel as a member of the UN, committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.
All the affiliated members of ICAWC, consider that the report of the fact-finding mission, led by Justice Richard Goldstone, gives the Palestinian government de facto in Gaza and the Israeli government a very acceptable period of time to start serious investigations and lay out a step by step approach to accountability.
As a direct associated part of the ICC Complaint against the Israeli government, we are very satisfied of the paragraph 1767 which recognizes the problem of impunity and the ICC role:
“With reference to the declaration under article 12 (3) received by the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC from the Government of Palestine, the Mission considers that accountability for victims and the interests of peace and justice in the region require that the legal determination should be made by the Prosecutor as expeditiously as possible.”
In the light of the report's findings, ICAWC asks the UN Human Rights Council to adopt a new resolution endorsing the fact-finding mission's report in its totality; facts and recommendations; and its submission to the relevant bodies, including the UN Secretary-General, the Security Council and the General Assembly. Any negative aptitude of the “Israel Friends” delegations to reject all or part of the report and its recommendations, will give credence to those who argue that international justice is a political tool targets the less power states. It will also undermine the States credibility and responsibility on the international justice and the UN Human Rights Council mechanism.
This report documents a very serious violations of the international humanitarian law by Israel, with some incidents amounting to war crimes and possible crimes against humanity, including willful killings; deliberate attacks on civilian objects; wanton destruction of civilian property; indiscriminate attacks; the use of human shields; and collective punishment against Gaza's civilian population in the form of the ongoing blockade of building materials and humanitarian aid. The report firmly condemns the rocket attacks on the civilian areas of Israel by Hamas and other armed groups as serious violations of the international humanitarian law.
Israel and Palestinian Hamas Government de facto have both an obligation under international law to investigate credible allegations of laws-of-war violations by their armed forces and, where violations are found, to punish those responsible. Mr. Prime Minister Ismael Hania promised a delegation of ICAWC to a great collaboration with all investigation groups, national, regional or international missions. In spite of the classification of Hamas as terrorist group by the European Union, he accepted the principle of EU investigation. It is now time to ask the Israeli government to collaborate.
Finally, ICAWC like to repeat with our colleagues of HRW: “to condemn impunity in places such as Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan, and to not do so regarding Israel will lend credence to those who seek to undermine the legitimacy of international justice institutions, which get portrayed as a tool of the powerful against the weak”.
It is urgent to ask the Security Council to refer the situation in Gaza to the ICC Prosecutor.
INTERNATIONAL COALITION AGAINST WAR CRIMINALS ( ICAWC)
(*) Statement of the European Union, on the 60th anniversary of the Geneva Convention.
Gaza, Oslo, Paris, Geneva 29/09/2009