For Immediate Release
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
UN Report on Israel and the International Criminal Court
WASHINGTON - The Independent in Britain reports that "Israel targeted 'the people of Gaza as a whole' in the three-week military operation which is estimated to have killed more than 1,300 Palestinians at the beginning of this year, according to a UN-commissioned report published yesterday.
"A UN fact-finding mission led by the Jewish South African former Supreme Court Judge Richard Goldstone said Israel should face prosecution by the International Criminal Court, unless it opened fully independent investigations of what the report said were repeated violations of international law, 'possible war crimes and crimes against humanity' during the operation."
Falk is the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Last December, the Israeli government denied him entry into Gaza. He said today: "The Goldstone Report is a milestone in the long effort to impose accountability under international law on Israel as the occupying power in Palestinian territories. It confirms in a balanced and comprehensive manner the main allegations of Israeli war crimes associated with the Gaza attacks starting at the end of 2008, as well as acknowledging the criminal nature of the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel.
"These allegations center on Israelâ€™s deliberate targeting of civilians, hospitals, mosques, schools, as well as UN facilities, as well as the absence of reasonable steps to minimize the harm to civilians. For the first time, a respected UN body urges that Israeli impunity for war crimes be ended by referral of the case to the International Criminal Court and by encouraging claims in those national courts, such as Spain and Belgium, where universal jurisdiction over international crimes is exercised. Whether and by whom the recommendations of the report will be implemented is a large open, unanswered question that poses a challenge to the UN and world public opinion, and also to the U.S. government."
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