UN assembly asks further Gaza war crimes investigations

The General Assembly demanded credible Israeli and Palestinian investigations into U.N. charges of war crimes in last year's Gaza war.

UN assembly asks further Gaza war crimes investigations

The General Assembly on Friday demanded credible Israeli and Palestinian investigations into U.N. charges of war crimes in last year's Gaza war, reflecting concerns that the probes so far have fallen short.

The United Nations' 192-nation assembly of member states approved the nonbinding Arab-drafted resolution with 98 votes in favor, seven against and 31 abstentions. Some 56 nations did not participate in the vote.

The Palestinian Authority's permanent observer to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, blamed a massive snowstorm that closed down schools and many businesses in New York for the poor attendance at the time of the vote. He added that the vote reflected "overwhelming" support for the Arab resolution.

The resolution calls for investigations that are "independent, credible and in conformity with international standards" into charges raised in a U.N. report last September by a panel headed by South African jurist Richard Goldstone.

The Goldstone report said the Israeli army committed "uncountable" war crimes during the war from late December 2008 to mid-January 2009.

It also accused that Hamas of several war crimes.

Hamas anounced that it regretted for deaths of three Israeli civilians.

Unlike an earlier resolution the assembly adopted in November 2009, Friday's resolution set no deadline for the completion of the investigations.

It did, however, request a report on Israeli and Palestinian compliance with the resolution from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon within five months, adding that "further action" by various U.N. bodies could follow.

More than 1,434 Palestinians, a third of them were children, and 13 Israelis killed after Israel launched Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

Critics charged that Israel used excessive and indiscriminate firepower and used white phosphorus on the civilian populated area.

Investigations so far "not sufficient" 

The United States and a few other countries like Micronesia and Nauru joined Israel in voting against Friday's resolution.

The assembly's November vote on the Goldstone Report divided the 27 European Union members into those that joined Israel and voted no, those that backed the Arabs and voted yes, and nations that abstained. No EU member voted against Friday's resolution, though some voted yes and some abstained.

The Israeli army has been conducting its own investigation of the allegations and the Palestinian Authority, which has no influence over the Gaza Strip, has promised to do so as well.

But Ban cast doubt on both sides' investigations in a letter he sent to the General Assembly earlier this month, withholding judgment on whether their probes were credible."

British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said the Israeli investigations so far were "not sufficient, and there are still some concerns." He added that the Palestinians had also so far not met their obligation to properly probe the allegations.

Reuters

Last Mod: 27 Şubat 2010, 10:13
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