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UN: Secretary-General Should Evaluate Gaza Inquiries

Objective Assessment of Israeli, Hamas Investigations Will Promote Justice

NEW YORK - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon should provide an
analytic, evaluative report on Israeli and Hamas investigations into
alleged laws-of-war violations during the Gaza conflict, as requested
by the General Assembly, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the secretary-general made public today.

Human Rights Watch said the report, due by February 5, 2010, should
go beyond a restatement of the parties' claims about their
investigations and instead critically assess whether the investigations
have been credible and independent.

"Secretary-General Ban should resist taking the easy way out by
simply repeating what Israel and Hamas tell him about their
investigations," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights
Watch. "Only a critical evaluation of what they have or have not done
will help end the impunity that is a major impediment to peace."

In a resolution
adopted on November 5, 2009, the General Assembly called on Israel and
Hamas to undertake within three months "independent, credible"
investigations, "in conformity with international standards," into
serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law
by Israel and Hamas documented by the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the
Gaza Conflict, also known as the Goldstone report. The resolution also
asked the secretary-general to report back to the General Assembly on
implementation of the resolution within three months.

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The resolution calling for the secretary-general's report passed by
a vote of 114 to 18, with 44 abstentions. Several European countries,
including Slovenia, Portugal, Ireland, and Switzerland, voted in favor
of the resolution, and more than two dozen others abstained.

In his letter, Roth commended Ban for speaking out forcefully in
favor of accountability in the Gaza conflict. On October 28, Ban told
the media
that "wherever and whenever there is violation of international human
rights law and international humanitarian laws, there should be
necessary investigation and the perpetrators of these crimes and
violation of human rights should be held accountable."

"We hope that Secretary-General Ban follows his strong words on
justice with action," Roth said. "An objective, analytical report from
his office that critically assesses the Israeli and Hamas
investigations will promote the justice that is so desperately needed
to end this conflict."

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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.

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