GAZA

Israel dismisses United Nations probe into Gaza war crimes

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 August, 2014, 9:14pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 August, 2014, 9:14pm

The United Nations has named experts to an international commission of inquiry into possible human rights violations and war crimes committed by both sides during Israel's military offensive in Gaza.

Israel, however, dismissed the inquiry as a UN Human Rights Council "kangaroo court".

William Schabas, a Canadian professor of international law, will head the panel whose other members include Doudou Diene, a Senegalese veteran UN human rights expert.

A UN statement said Amal Alamuddin, a British-Lebanese lawyer engaged to be married to Hollywood actor George Clooney would take part, though Alamuddin later denied she would participate in the inquiry.

It was not clear who would replace Alamuddin on the panel.

The UN statement said the independent team would investigate "all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law ... in the context of the military operations conducted since 13 June 2014."

The panel is to report by March 2015 to the UN Human Rights Council. Israel has long accused the 47-member state forum of bias against it.

Navi Pillay, the top UN human rights official, said on July 31 she believed Israel was deliberately defying international law in its military offensive in Gaza and that world powers should hold it accountable for possible war crimes.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor issued a statement dismissing the inquiry. He cited Israel's view that "the Human Rights Council had long ago turned into the 'terrorist rights council' and a kangaroo court, whose 'investigations' are predetermined".

Reuters