World’s Top Investigators Call for Gaza Inquiry

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(Originally posted on Daily Kos)

The top dogs of international justice and reconciliation today called on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN member states to set up a UN commission of inquiry into the Gaza conflict, adding a powerful voice to extend the current insufficient investigation beyond attacks against UN facilities.

The impressive group of signatories surely knows what they are talking about: they are the world’s top investigators and judges, having worked on transitional justice issues in countries like Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, Sierra Leona and South Africa – among others. Signatories include Richard Goldstone, Mary Robinson and Desmond Tutu.

In their letter they identify a key issue of why a proper investigation is so important, and how it will ultimately help to prevent future violence:

Without setting the record straight in a credible and impartial manner, it will be difficult for those communities that have borne the heavy cost of violence to move beyond the terrible aftermath of conflict and help build a better peace.

A prompt, independent and impartial investigation would provide a public record of gross violations of international humanitarian law committed and provide recommendations on how those responsible for crimes should be held to account. We have seen at first hand the importance of investigating the truth and delivering justice for the victims of conflict and believe it is a precondition to move forward and achieve peace in the Middle East.

Additionally, I want to add one point: in setting the record straight, it will be possible to assign individual responsibility for the crimes committed, as opposed to group responsibility, a further key requirement to prevent further conflict.

If anyone can explain to me why attacks against UN installations, like the UN compound in Gaza City, by Israeli forces are worth investigating, while attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure in both Gaza and Southern Israel are ignored – please go ahead. And if you agree with me on the importance of this issue, support the call for full accountability.

PS: Thanks to Crisis Action for initiating this letter!

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10 thoughts on “World’s Top Investigators Call for Gaza Inquiry

  1. "If anyone can explain to me why attacks against UN installations, like the UN compound in Gaza City, by Israeli forces are worth investigating, while attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure in both Gaza and Southern Israel are ignored – please go ahead."

    To answer your question with another question, can anyone tell me why wars and bloodshed thought the world on scales tens, hundereds, even thousands of times worse than what happened in Gaza do not attract any calls for any investigations?

    For just a few more obvious examples of this, the war in Sri Lanka, occurring at about the same time as the 3 week Gaza war, killed in just the last 2 months at least 10 times as many civilians as died in Gaza. But no so-called "top dogs of international justice and reconciliation" have issued any letters calling for investigations of Sri Lanka or the Tigers.

    Can you explain why?

    For another example, also at exactly the same time as the Gaza war this past January, the United Nations itself has been implicated by Medicine Sans Frontiers as complicit in the deaths of up to 5000 civilians in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. UN peacekeeping forces are accused by Doctors Without Borders of refusing to leave their barracks and standing by idle while thousands were hacked to death in eastern Congo just 2 months ago. Why no call for an international investigation of the UN's responsibility for this incident, in which the loss of life was many times that of Gaza.

    Why no demands for investigations of these incidents far worse than Gaza?

  2. “If anyone can explain to me why attacks against UN installations, like the UN compound in Gaza City, by Israeli forces are worth investigating, while attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure in both Gaza and Southern Israel are ignored – please go ahead.”

    To answer your question with another question, can anyone tell me why wars and bloodshed thought the world on scales tens, hundereds, even thousands of times worse than what happened in Gaza do not attract any calls for any investigations?

    For just a few more obvious examples of this, the war in Sri Lanka, occurring at about the same time as the 3 week Gaza war, killed in just the last 2 months at least 10 times as many civilians as died in Gaza. But no so-called “top dogs of international justice and reconciliation” have issued any letters calling for investigations of Sri Lanka or the Tigers.

    Can you explain why?

    For another example, also at exactly the same time as the Gaza war this past January, the United Nations itself has been implicated by Medicine Sans Frontiers as complicit in the deaths of up to 5000 civilians in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. UN peacekeeping forces are accused by Doctors Without Borders of refusing to leave their barracks and standing by idle while thousands were hacked to death in eastern Congo just 2 months ago. Why no call for an international investigation of the UN’s responsibility for this incident, in which the loss of life was many times that of Gaza.

    Why no demands for investigations of these incidents far worse than Gaza?

  3. the most urgent issue in sri lank right now is the protection of civilians who are trapped in the conflict zone and better humanitarian access. a current IRIN article makes it very clear what is needed in Sri Lanka today: http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=8351

    obviously, the perpetrators of human rights violations in sri lanka have to be held accountable, and we continue to investigate violations of international law and call for accountability

  4. the most urgent issue in sri lank right now is the protection of civilians who are trapped in the conflict zone and better humanitarian access. a current IRIN article makes it very clear what is needed in Sri Lanka today: http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=8351

    obviously, the perpetrators of human rights violations in sri lanka have to be held accountable, and we continue to investigate violations of international law and call for accountability

  5. the most urgent issue in sri lank right now is the protection of civilians who are trapped in the conflict zone and better humanitarian access. a current IRIN article makes it very clear what is needed in Sri Lanka today: http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=8351

    obviously, the perpetrators of human rights violations in sri lanka have to be held accountable, and we continue to investigate violations of international law and call for accountability

  6. the most urgent issue in sri lank right now is the protection of civilians who are trapped in the conflict zone and better humanitarian access. a current IRIN article makes it very clear what is needed in Sri Lanka today:
    http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=83519

    obviously, the perpetrators of human rights violations in sri lanka have to be held accountable, and we continue to investigate violations of international law and call for accountability