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26 February 2009
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
Agenda item 7
HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN PALESTINE AND OTHER
OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES
Joint written statement
submitted by the Sudan Council of Voluntary Agencies (SCOVA), a non-governmental organization in special consultative status and the African American Society for Humanitarian Aid & Development (ASHAD), a non-governmental organization on the Roster
The Secretary-General has received the following written statement which is circulated in accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/31.
[13 February 2009]
This written statement is issued, unedited, in the language(s) received from the submitting non-governmental organization(s).
The United Nations has moved to set up a commission to look into Israeli war crimes and respond to its human rights violations in Gaza. After the United Nations Works and Relief Agency (UNRWA) compound became the target of GPS-guided Israeli mortars on January 15, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned "in the strongest terms this outrageous attack" and called for an inquiry into suspected Israeli war crimes.
UN spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna said the shelling of the school happened while Israel had been given the coordinates of the building and the compound was also clearly marked with UN flags and logos.
"The UN compound in Gaza had only that morning become a makeshift shelter for hundreds of Gaza City residents seeking sanctuary from relentless Israeli shelling," said an unnamed UN official in Gaza.
The UN move to launch a probe into suspected Israeli war crimes comes after the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor in The Hague announced earlier last week that a "preliminary analysis" was launched to review the military conduct of Israeli forces participating in the offensive against Gaza.
The ICC prosecutor's office said it had received 210 communications from individuals and non-governmental organizations regarding the recent events in Gaza. The criminal case is expected to focus on the Israeli atrocities, including charges of using disproportionate force, white phosphorous bombs and depleted uranium in the densely-populated area.
Israel's three-week offensive against Gaza -- aimed at toppling the democratically-elected government of Hamas in the Palestinian territory -- left nearly 1,300 Palestinians dead, more than half of them civilians, according to medical sources. The Israeli assault led to the destruction of schools, mosques, houses, UN compounds and government buildings, which Israel has a responsibility to protect under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Earlier during the war, members of a Norwegian triage medical team in Gaza which worked at the Shifa Hospital in the war-torn Palestinian territory said Israel had turned Gaza into a research laboratory to test out its new "extremely nasty" weapons on Palestinians.
The criminal case is expected to focus on the Israeli atrocities, including charges of using white phosphorous bombs, disproportionate force and failure to ensure civilian safety. The Israeli artillery fire that hit a UN school housing hundreds of Gazan refugees would be on the list. The incident left 42 people killed and many others wounded. On the list would also be allegations that Israeli soldiers ordered 110 civilians into a warehouse, and shelled it the next day, killing 30. More than 1,300 Palestinian and 13 Israeli soldiers were killed in the war before both side declared separate ceasefires.
While Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, as well as Israel's most prominent human rights organization, B'Tselem have raised questions about the ethical and moral guidelines of Israel's warfare, the Israeli lobby is working hard to counter efforts to protect the criminal Israel’s soldiers from being held accountable for war crimes. Amid reports of profound human sufferings, Israel continues to reject the fact that it has imposed a humanitarian crisis among the battle-hardened 1.5 million population of Gaza and denies committing war crimes in the embattled Strip.
The commission would later report back to the Security Council, which would then decide how to respond.
The ICC - which started work in 2002 as the world’s first permanent tribunal on war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide - had no competence over the Gaza situation? It remains to be seen whether the prosecutor of ICC can also start an investigation into the Gaza situation at the request of the United Nations Security Council or he will remain idle towards the disastrous havoc of Gaza.
request the Human Rights Council to adopt the following recommendations:
Condemn the outrageous attack on civilian’s women children as well as premises in Gaza.
HR groups building case over Gaza crimes
Demand a thorough investigation and punishment for those responsible.
Set up a UN commission as a preliminary step to look into Israeli damage not only for UN premises but for the damage and brutal atrocities for the whole of Gaza as well.
Enforce International justice to those who think they are above the law, especially to those who have complete disregard for human life.
While some neighboring countries had refused to allow members of an investigation committee set up by the ICC into the Gaza Strip, ASHAD demand unrestricted access of International human rights defenders - including any investigations committees – to Gaza so as to conduct a thorough investigations relating to war crime and crime against humanity in Gaza.
Counter efforts the Israel’s attempt to protect the criminal Israel’s soldiers from being held accountable for war crimes, inter alia; ensure that impunity should not be granted to any suspected criminal.
WE urge the human rights council with (Unstinting resolve) to adopt the report regarding the atrocities in Gaza and to bring The Israel’s military and political leaders in front of the international justice.
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