UN Human Rights Council mission on flotilla incident concludes visit to Turkey

27 August 2010

The United Nations Human Rights Council’s international, independent fact-finding mission of high-level experts inquiring into the Gaza flotilla incident on 31 May has wrapped up a week-long visit to Turkey.

The three experts interviewed Government officials and witnesses who provided first-hand information on the incident, according to a press statement issued today by the Council in Geneva.

Technical and legal experts accompanying the mission also held meetings with forensic and judiciary officials and inspected the ship Mavi Marmara, which was part of the flotilla.

The team now heads to Jordan on Sunday for a seven-day visit in which they will interview witnesses based in Jordan and neighbouring countries.

The 47-member Council voted in early June to dispatch the mission to inquire into the incident regarding the flotilla, which had departed Turkey and was bound for the Gaza Strip. It is slated to present its report at the Council’s next session in September.

Judge Karl Hudson-Phillips, a former judge with the International Criminal Court (ICC), chairs the mission, and the other members are Sir Desmond de Silva, a former chief prosecutor at the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), and Shanthi Dairiam, a former member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

Also expected to deliver a report in September is Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s panel of inquiry into the incident.

That four-member panel, which started discussions earlier this month on how to carry out its work, is not designed to determine individual criminal responsibility, but to examine and identify the facts, circumstances and the context of the flotilla incident.

As part of that, the panel will receive and review the reports of national investigations into the incident and request clarifications and information as it needs from national authorities.


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