The United Nations General Assembly today called for “independent, credible” investigations by both the Israeli Government and the Palestinian side into the deadly conflict in the Gaza Strip that started in late 2008.
At a meeting today in New York, 98 Member States voted in favour of a resolution on the follow-up to the report of the UN fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict, and seven voted against it, with 31 abstentions. Assembly resolutions are non-binding.
The four-member fact-finding mission, led by Justice Richard Goldstone, a former UN war crimes prosecutor, found that both Israeli forces and Palestinian militants were guilty of serious human rights violations and breaches of humanitarian law during the Gaza conflict. Its findings, contained in the so-called Goldstone Report, were endorsed by the Assembly in November.
Earlier this year, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon transmitted a follow-up report concerning the implementation of the recommendations made by the team and containing submissions from the Israeli Government, the Palestinian Authority and the Swiss Government.
“International humanitarian law needs to be fully respected and civilians must be protected in all situations and circumstances,” Mr. Ban wrote.
Today’s resolution reiterated that the investigations carried out by both sides must conform with “international standards into the serious violations of international humanitarian and international human rights law reported by the fact-finding mission, towards ensuring accountability and justice.”
Operation ‘Cast Lead’ – the three-week military operation which Israel said it launched in response to rocket and other attacks by militants in Gaza – left over 1,400 people dead, injured 5,000 others and reduced homes, schools, hospitals and marketplaces to rubble.