First Published: 2009-01-23

 
UN fears 'systematic war crimes' by Israel
 

UN Special Rapporteur on human rights says 'unlawful targets have been selected' by Israel.

 

Middle East Online

Falk: 'against an essentially defenceless population'

GENEVA - A UN human rights expert on Thursday said Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip during its recent offensive there raised "the spectre of systematic war crimes" and needed to be investigated.

The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Occupied Territories, Richard Falk, said he had little doubt about the "unavoidably inhuman character of a large scale military operation of the sort that Israel has initiated... against an essentially defenceless population."

Falk told journalists that Israeli military operations in the densely populated territory among a population weakened by an 18 month blockade "raises the spectre of systematic war crimes."

"Unlawful targets have been selected" during the fighting, he said.

"The evidence of breaking of fundamental rules of international humanitarian law is so compelling," he added, backing calls for an independent, international investigation.

Falk, a legal expert, said that the Palestinian population of the Gaza Strip was effectively trapped in a war zone and prevented from fleeing, even if they were ill, wounded, or children.

The 47-member UN Human Rights Council voted by a large majority on January 12 to set up a probe into "grave" human rights violations by Israeli forces against Palestinians.

More than 1,300 Palestinians, most of them civilians and nearly a third of them children, were killed and 5,300 wounded by the 22-day Israeli offensive.

Ten Israeli soldiers and three civilians were killed in Israel during the same period.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reiterated Wednesday his demand for a full explanation of "outrageous" Israeli attacks on UN facilities in the Gaza Strip including a school used as a refuge for civilians.

Palestinian justice minister meets ICC prosecutor

Palestinian Justice Minister Ali Kashan met International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo Thursday to discuss the situation in Gaza, a court official said.

"The Palestinian justice minister came to The Hague today," said Beatrice le Fraper, a special advisor to the prosecutor,.

They had "a long discussion ... which included allegations of crimes committed in Gaza".

The court started work in 2002 as the world's first permanent tribunal on war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

It can put an individual on trial if the alleged crime was committed on the territory of, or by a national of, a signatory to the Rome Statute which created the court, or if requested by a state party, which Israel is not.

The prosecutor could start an investigation into the Gaza situation at the request of the United Nations Security Council, or if Israel were to voluntarily accept the court's jurisdiction.

The International Federation of Human Rights and Amnesty International have accused Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza.

 

Kurds ready for contentious vote in Iraq

The high cost of Syria’s destruction

Iran defies US, tests missile

Yemen's Hadi says military solution 'most likely'

The Sahara Forest Project, Jordan’s innovative water scheme

Palestinian negotiator awaits lung transplant in US

A Kurdish state: Reality or utopia?

Saudi intercepts missile fired from Yemen

Saudi Arabia marks national day with fireworks, concerts

Turkey warns of 'security' steps in response to Iraqi Kurd vote

Barzani delays Kurdish independence vote announcement

Syria's war off the radar at UN assembly

For many Iraqis, tradition trumps police

Darfur clashes kill 3 as Bashir urges reconciliation

Saudi cleric banned for saying women have ‘quarter’ brain

Veteran Syrian activist, daughter assassinated in Istanbul

Tunisia drops forced anal exams for homosexuality

Bomb used in Saudi-led strike on Yemen children US-made

Syria Kurds vote to cement federal push

Police charge teenager over London Underground attack

Nigerian official to meet Turkish counterpart over illegal guns

Thousands feared trapped in Raqa as IS mounts last stand

Iraqi forces achieve first step in new offensive on IS

Migrant boat sinks off Turkish Black Sea coast leaving four dead, 20 missing

Trump praises 'friend' Erdogan

Yemen leader promises UN to open entire country to aid

Rouhani vows Iran will boost missiles despite US criticism

Russia clashes with EU over Syria

UN Security Council warns against holding Iraqi Kurd vote

UN sets up probe of IS war crimes in Iraq

US, Iranian top diplomats confront each other for first time

Air strikes kill 22 civilians in northwest Syria in 48 hours

Iranian supreme leader lashes out at Trump UN speech

Thousands of Huthi supporters mark 3 years since Sanaa takeover

Iraq attacks all remaining IS territory at once

Moscow accuses US of hitting Syrian regime forces

Turkey jails lawyers representing hunger striking teachers

Turkey, Iran and Iraq make joint threat against Kurd vote

Syrian Kurds to hold first local elections in federal push

Qatari expats lauded as statesmen by Arab critics

Shipwreck off Libyan coast leaves over 100 migrants missing

Will Turkey’s opposition to Kurdish state translate into action?

US ups the ante on Iraq Kurds

Macron: Iran nuclear deal no longer enough

Trump’s mind made up on Iran but refuses to divulge