Ban sends report to General Assembly on follow-up to inquiry into Gaza conflict

5 February 2010

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has transmitted a report to the General Assembly on the follow-up to the report made by the United Nations fact-finding mission into the deadly conflict in the Gaza Strip at the start of last year.

Mr. Ban’s report – submitted at the request of the General Assembly – concerns the implementation of the recommendations of the fact-finding mission, led by Justice Richard Goldstone, a former UN war crimes prosecutor, into the conflict.

It contains submissions from the Israeli Government, the Palestinian Authority and the Swiss Government, all received before Mr. Ban’s report was finalized. The report is now being sent to UN Member States.

The Goldstone Report, as it has become known, found that both Israeli forces and Palestinian militants were guilty of serious human rights violations and breaches of humanitarian law during the Gaza conflict, which began in late December 2008.

The four-member fact-finding team, set up at the request of the UN Human Rights Council, called on the two sides to carry out independent credible investigations into their actions during the conflict.

In his report this week Mr. Ban stressed that he hoped Israel and the Palestinians conduct those inquiries appropriately.

“International humanitarian law needs to be fully respected and civilians must be protected in all situations and circumstances,” the Secretary-General wrote.

“The Secretary-General remains personally moved by the plight of all civilians harmed during the Gaza conflict,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson told journalists today. “He was at the forefront of the efforts to stop the fighting in Gaza. He was the first international leader to visit after the fighting and express his solidarity with victims on both sides of the conflict. He has consistently called for credible domestic investigations, and did so again in this report.

“Looking forward, the Secretary-General is firmly leading the advocacy and planning for the rebuilding of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure.”

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General Assembly President Ali Treki today urged Israel and the Palestinians to heed the body’s call to conduct credible investigations into charges that both sides were guilty of serious human rights violations during the conflict in the Gaza Strip at the start of the year.