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.

 

Regime strikes in Syria enclave despite ceasefire call

Russia pours cold water on UN bid to condemn Iran over missiles to Yemen

Egypt presidential race starts with Sisi likely to win

Christian leaders close Church of the Holy Sepulchre in tax dispute

Blatter supports Morocco bid for 2026 World Cup

Iraq condemns 15 Turkish women to death for belonging to IS

Thousands expected for radical Israeli rabbi's funeral

Syrian Kurd leader arrested in Prague

Philippine officials meet nationals in Kuwait amid labour row

Families of IS suspects in Iraq face 'collective punishment'

Iran's ex-intelligence minister slams handling of prison death

More strikes hit E. Ghouta as UN delays truce vote

Turkey says US embassy Jerusalem opening in May 'extremely worrying'

Lebanon says both suspects in Kuwait murder of Filipina maid held

38 dead in Mogadishu car bombings

Morocco police arrests prominent newspaper publisher

Syria regime continues to pound Ghouta as world stutters

UN rights commission wants S.Sudan war crimes charges

Iran grounds airline's ATR planes after crash

Turkey summons Dutch diplomat over Armenian 'genocide' vote

Turkey navy threatens to engage Italian drillship near Cyprus

Iran police shoving headscarf protester sparks social media storm

UN Security Council to vote Friday on Syria ceasefire

Dubai says Djibouti illegally seized African port

Dutch parliament recognises 1915 Armenian massacre as genocide

Heavily bombarded Eastern Ghouta awaits UN resolution

Russia says Syria rebels rejected offer to evacuate E. Ghouta

UN diplomats press for Syria ceasefire without Russia veto

Iranian minister’s presence at UN rights meeting angers critics

Iran warns it will leave nuke deal if banks cannot do business

Qatar to plant thousands of trees to ‘beautify’ World Cup venues

Pro-Kurdish party says Turkey lying about 'no civilian deaths' in Afrin

African migrants protest Israeli detention policy

Egypt sentences 21 to death for planning attacks

Israeli handball teams in Qatar spark furious outcry from locals

UN report highlights S.Sudan journalist treatment

Palestinian dies after being shot by Israeli soldiers

Gulf states urge Syria to end Ghouta violence

Wanted Bahraini militants die at sea en route to Iran

Saudi Arabia to boost entertainment in next decade

Iran's Ahmadinejad calls for immediate free elections

Merkel calls for end to 'massacre' in Syria

Iraq urges FIFA to lift ban on hosting internationals

Carnage of Ghouta's bombs breaking families

Blockaded Gaza Strip forced to pump sewage into sea