25 March 2010 – The United Nations Human Rights Council today, echoing the General Assembly, called on the Israeli Government and the Palestinian side to carry out independent and credible investigations into the deadly conflict in the Gaza Strip that ended early last year.
Those inquiries, the Council said in Geneva, must look into the serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law reported by the fact-finding mission into the Operation Cast Lead, the three-week Israeli military offensive starting at the end of 2008 that had the stated aim of ending rocket attacks by militants operating in the area.
The fighting left more than 1,400 people dead, injured 5,000 others and reduced homes, schools, hospitals and marketplaces to rubble.
The Goldstone Report, as it has become known, found that both Israeli forces and Palestinian militants were guilty of serious human rights violations and breaches of humanitarian law during the Gaza conflict, which began in late December 2008. The General Assembly has endorsed the mission’s findings.
The four-member fact-finding team headed by former UN war crimes prosecutor Justice Richard Goldstone, set up at the request of the Human Rights Council, called on the two sides to carry out independent investigations into their actions during the conflict.
The Human Rights Council today also called on the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, to look into setting up an escrow fund to provide reparations to Palestinians who suffered losses as a result of unlawful Israeli actions during the conflict.
It also decided to establish a committee of independent experts to monitor the independence, effective and genuineness of the investigations and their conformity with international standards.
Earlier this month, the General Assembly also appealed for independent investigations by Israel and the Palestinians, reiterating a call by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a follow-up report to the Goldstone Report that they must conform with “international standards into the serious violations of international humanitarian and international human rights law reported by the fact-finding mission, towards ensuring accountability and justice.”
During its meeting in Geneva today, the Human Rights Council also took action on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur covering the Asian nation for one year, Vitit Muntarbhorn.