UN team named to probe Israel raid on Turkish aid ship

Turkey repeatedly said, it will only accept results of international independent panel on aid attack on international waters.

UN team named to probe Israel raid on Turkish aid ship

The U.N. Human Rights Council appointed a team of international experts on Friday to investigate a deadly raid by Israeli commandos on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May.

The fact-finding team comprises three independent experts -- Sir Desmond de Silva (Britain), Karl Hudson-Phillips (Trinidad and Tobago) and Mary Shanthi Dairiam (Malaysia) -- a U.N. statement said.

The 47-member forum voted to set up the inquiry last month to look into violations of international law in Israel's attack in which nine Turkish activists were killed on the aid ship in international waters.

"The expertise, independence and impartiality of the members of the mission will be devoted to clarifying the events which took place that day and their legality," said Thailand's ambassador Sihasak Phuangketkeow, current Council president.

"We call upon all parties to fully cooperate with the mission and hope that this mission will contribute to peace in the region and justice for the victims," he said.

De Silva is a former chief war crimes prosecutor at the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone. Hudson-Phillips is a former judge at the International Criminal Court who also served as attorney-general of Trinidad and Tobago.

Shanthi Dairiam is a Malaysian women's rights activist working in U.N. and Asian regional forums.

The U.N. team is expected to travel to Israel, Turkey and Gaza in August to interview witnesses and gather information before reporting back to the Council in September. The Council opens a three-week session in Geneva on Sept. 12.

But, Israel which has a long history of refusing cooperations with UN over war crimes charges, is unclear to allow the visit. Israel had halted a visit of UN team led by Richard Goldstone, a South African judge.

The Goldstone report said, "Israeli forces deliberately attacked civilians, failed to take precautions to minimize loss of civilian life and cited strong evidence Israeli forces committed grave breaches of the Geneva Convention."

Turkey repeatedly said, it will only accept results of international independent panel on aid attack on international waters and rejected Israel's internal probe whose panel members criticized for "being powerless".

Turkey has withdrawn its ambassador, cancelled joint military exercises, and called for Israel to end its blockade of 1.5 million Palestinians.

Agencies

 

Related news reports:

Israel says to free Turkish Gaza aid ships held after deadly raid

Last Mod: 23 Temmuz 2010, 18:08
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