For Immediate Release
EU: Demand Justice for Victims of Gaza War
Endorse Goldstone Report in its Entirety
BRUSSELS - The European Union and its member states should fully endorse the
report of the United Nations fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict
led by South African judge Richard Goldstone and demand justice for the
victims of serious violations of international humanitarian law, Human
Rights Watch said today.
In a letter to EU
foreign ministers made public today, Human Rights Watch called on the
European Union and its 27 member states to "promote an international
order where no state is above the law."
"EU member states should accept that both Israel and Hamas committed
serious violations during the Gaza conflict," said Lotte Leicht, EU
director at Human Rights Watch. "The step-by-step approach proposed by
the Goldstone report could finally help secure justice for the civilian
victims of the war."
In its letter, Human Rights Watch called upon the EU and member
states to support a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council endorsing
the fact-finding mission's report in its totality and its
submission to the relevant UN bodies for follow-up. The Human Rights Council in Geneva will debate the Gaza report next week.
Human Rights Watch expressed concern that EU member states may
challenge the Goldstone report with procedural arguments about whether
the mission had a mandate to make recommendations beyond the Human
Rights Council rather than initiate a process that advances justice for
possible war crimes in the conflict.
"The Goldstone report offers a unique opportunity to break the cycle
of impunity that has for too long undermined prospects for peace in the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict," said Leicht. "The EU should not let
this opportunity go to waste."
The UN fact-finding mission on the Gaza Conflict released its
575-page report on September 15. The report documents serious
violations of international humanitarian law by both Israel and Hamas.
Some Israeli violations amounted 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 a
The Goldstone report concluded that rocket fire from Gaza by Hamas
and other Palestinian armed groups was deliberate and calculated to
cause loss of civilian life and to terrorize Israeli civilians. As
such, the report said, they amounted to serious war crimes and perhaps
crimes against humanity.
The report recommends that Israel and the Hamas authorities be given
six months to show that they will finally conduct credible
investigations into violations by their forces, and that the UN
Security Council asks a group of independent experts to monitor and
report on whether the parties undertake genuine efforts in this regard.
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Human Rights Watch is one of the world's leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. By focusing international attention where human rights are violated, we give voice to the oppressed and hold oppressors accountable for their crimes. Our rigorous, objective investigations and strategic, targeted advocacy build intense pressure for action and raise the cost of human rights abuse. For 30 years, Human Rights Watch has worked tenaciously to lay the legal and moral groundwork for deep-rooted change and has fought to bring greater justice and security to people around the world.