HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Friday, February 5, 2010
GENERAL ASSEMBLY RECEIVES BAN KI-MOON'S REPORT ON FOLLOW-UP TO INQUIRY INTO GAZA CONFLICT
- Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has now issued his report following up on General Assembly resolution 64/10.
- His report contains inputs received from the Israeli and Palestinian sides on the efforts which they have undertaken so far to investigate allegations of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law during the Gaza Conflict. It also contains a summary of the consultations conducted by the Government of Switzerland regarding the reconvening of a Conference of the High Contracting Parties.
- In all cases, it is clear that the processes which have been initiated are still ongoing. As such, no determination can be made on the implementation of the resolution.
- As he states in the report, the Secretary-General believes that international humanitarian law needs to be fully respected and civilians must be protected in all situations and circumstances. It is his hope that resolution 64/10 has served to encourage investigations by the Government of Israel and the Palestinian side that are independent, credible and in conformity with international standards.
- The Spokesperson noted that in the document submitted by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly on the Goldstone report, only the first three pages are written by the Secretary-General and the Secretariat.
- The remainder of the document consists of annexes containing information provided, respectively, by the Government of Israel, the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine and the Permanent Mission of Switzerland.
- Asked to evaluate the Israeli and Palestinian responses, the Spokesperson said that it is clear that in all cases, the processes initiated by the Israeli and the Palestinian sides remain ongoing.
- Asked why the report did not analyze the replies, Nesirky said that the Secretary-General conformed to the request of the General Assembly. The Secretary-General, he noted, had not been requested to express his views on the responses received.
- The Secretary-General asked the parties on 3 December 2009 for their responses. The Secretary-General duly reported to the General Assembly what he has received from the Israelis and from the Palestinian side. The instruction received by the Secretary-General was to report on the implementation of resolution 64/10.
- Asked about future action on the report, Nesirky said that, in accordance with operative paragraph 6 of that resolution, the Secretary-General was requested to report to the General Assembly “with a view to considering further action, if necessary, by the relevant United Nations organs and bodies.” Therefore, decisions on further action, if any, remain with the General Assembly.
- In response to criticism about the nature of the UN response, the Spokesperson asserted that the Secretary-General remains personally moved by plight of all civilians harmed during the Gaza Conflict. He was at the forefront, Nesirky said, of the efforts to stop the fighting in Gaza. He was the first international leader to visit after the fighting and express his solidarity with victims on both sides of the conflict. He has consistently called for credible domestic investigations, and did so again in this report.
- Looking forward, he added, the Secretary-General is firmly leading the advocacy and planning for the rebuilding of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure.
- The Spokesperson noted that the report said that the Secretary-General remains deeply affected by the widespread death, destruction and suffering in the Gaza Strip, as well as moved by the plight of civilians in southern Israel who have been subject to indiscriminate rocket and mortar fire.
- In the report, the Secretary-General said, “I believe that, as a matter of principle, international humanitarian law needs to be fully respected and civilians must be protected in all situations and circumstances. Accordingly, on several occasions, I have called upon all of the parties to carry out credible domestic investigations into the conduct of the Gaza conflict. I hope that such steps will be taken wherever there are credible allegations of human rights abuses.”
- He added, “It is my sincere hope that General Assembly resolution 64/10 has served to encourage investigations by the Government of Israel and the Palestinian side that are independent, credible and in conformity with international standards.”
- The Secretary-General noted from the materials received that the processes initiated by the Government of Israel and the Government of Switzerland are ongoing, and that the Palestinian side initiated its process on 25 January 2010. As such, he concluded, “no determination can be made on the implementation of the resolution by the parties concerned.”