[News] Goldstone Report at the UN General Assembly
news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Nov 4 12:08:20 EST 2009
The Goldstone Report at the UN General Assembly:
States Must Ensure Victims' Rights and Not Compromise the Rule of Law
Post Nov 4th, 2009 at 13:55
Joint Press Release issued by Adalah Legal
Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel *
Addameeer * Al Dameer Association for Human
Rights * Al-Haq Law in the Service of Man * Al
Mezan Centre for Human Rights * Arab Association
for Human Rights * Badil Resource Center for
Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights *
Defence for Children International-Palestine
Section * Ensan Center for Human Rights and
Democracy * Jerusalem Legal Aid Center *
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights * Ramallah
Center for Human Rights Studies * Women's Center for Legal Aid and Counseling
Today, 4 November 2009, the General Assembly will
meet to discuss the Report of the UN Fact Finding
Mission on the Gaza Conflict (the Goldstone
Report). A draft Resolution has been presented
to the General Assembly for debate, and it is
evident that those who claim to speak on behalf
of human rights and international law are failing
in their mandate. The draft Resolution is a
politically motivated compromise, intended to
obtain support for a Resolution without
substance, one which fails to protect victims'
rights or to pursue accountability. While the
draft addresses certain demands, it does not
explicitly include operational steps for the
implementation of the Recommendations of the
Goldstone Report, and absolutely fails to bring remedy and redress to victims.
There can be no compromise on the fundamental
principles of human rights and international law.
If international law is to prove capable of
protecting civilian populations and of averting
future atrocities, then it must be enforced. Each
individual's basic human right to equal
protection of the law and to an effective
judicial remedy must be ensured. Those accused of
committing international crimes must be investigated, tried, and prosecuted.
In supporting this draft the PLO are following
the traditional policy of attempting to secure a
Resolution by consensus. Too often have the
rights of Palestinians been negotiated away in
order to provide the appearance of political
progress, and too often has progress manifested
itself as mere maintenance of the status quo,
which for decades has denied Palestinians their fundamental rights.
Impunity must not be allowed to prevail.
International law, and the respect for the
fundamental human rights of peoples throughout
the world, must not be subject to the whim of
powerful States. As Palestinians and
representatives of the victims we demand justice,
and the possibility of a peaceful future.
The General Assembly must request that the
Security Council not only consider the Goldstone
Report, but also implement its recommendations.
Domestic investigations are essential; however,
if these are not conducted credibly and in
accordance with international standards as past
experience would suggest is the likelihood then
the consequences must be clear. Should attempts
be made to shield alleged war criminals from
justice, then the Security Council must take
appropriate action, and the situation just be
referred to the International Criminal Court.
It is also essential that, as recommended in the
Goldstone Report, the General Assembly act now to
ensure reparations for the victims of Operation
Cast Lead. It is unacceptable that the illegal
blockade of the Gaza Strip continues to this day
and that reconstruction and recovery have been
denied. The General Assembly must establish an
escrow fund to handle reparations owed to the
victims by Israel, and act to end this illegal
blockade. The continued suffering of innocent
civilians cannot be condoned by the United Nations.
At the Human Rights Council in September, the
political vacillation of the PLO, the
anti-accountability agenda of some of the most
powerful UN member states, and a callous
disregard for the victims of Operation Cast Lead
saw the first attempt to bury the Goldstone
Report. As the representatives of the
Palestinians at the UN the PLO must ensure a
second attempt is not successful, and must
re-focus its efforts towards ensuring that a
Resolution fully endorsing the Goldstone Report
and its detailed recommendations be adopted by a
majority of the General Assembly; a 'consensus'
Resolution will effectively nullify the decision
of the Human Rights Council's Special Session,
repudiate the rule of international law, and
implicitly endorse further impunity for those who target civilians.
Palestinians do not want to be part of a
consensus that buries the Goldstone Report, and
denies victims' legitimate rights. Palestinians
should neither be forced to negotiate on the
Recommendations of the Goldstone Report, nor to
compromise their fundamental rights under
international law. It is essential at the risk
of condoning impunity and the commission of
future international crimes that the General Assembly:
a) fully endorse the Report of the Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict;
b) urge the Security Council to endorse the
Report, and to expeditiously pursue all
accountability mechanisms presented therein;
particularly a referral to the International
Criminal Court in the absence of good faith
investigations by the parties to the conflict;
c) demand that credible internal domestic
investigations and prosecutions be carried out by
the parties to the conflict in accordance with
international standards of impartiality,
independence, promptness and effectiveness;
d) establish of an independent committee of
experts in international humanitarian and human
rights law to monitor any domestic legal or other
proceeding taken by the parties of the conflict
and publicly report to the UNGA and Security Council;
e) remain fully appraised of the matter until
appropriate action is taken at the domestic or
international level in order to ensure justice
for victims and accountability for perpetrators;
f) establish an escrow fund for the purpose of
compensating the victims of violations of
international law committed during Operation Cast Lead;
g) request Switzerland to convene a conference of
the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to ensure its respect;
h) promote an urgent discussion on the use of
munitions such as white phosphorous (as mentioned
in the Report), and a moratorium on their use by Israel.
Ashkenazi: Next Battle Likely In Gaza
Wednesday November 04, 2009 01:30
by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi,
stated Tuesday that he believes a new war in Gaza
is nearing, and that the army is readying to
target Qassam launching pads, located in densely
populating areas in the Gaza Strip.
He said that the army could be fighting in
cities, mosques, hospitals, schools and even
kindergartens and added that "the enemies want to force us to fight this way".
His statements came during a graduation ceremony
for army cadets, and were aired by the Israeli Radio.
Meanwhile, the Hamas movement in Gaza said that
the Israeli statements regarding Hamas
successful tests on news missiles clearly prove
that Israel is trying to divert world attention from the Goldstone report.
Fawzi Barhoum, spokesperson of Hamas, said that
the statements of Ashkenazi were made in an
attempt to justify war crimes against humanity in
Gaza, and could as well be meant to justify future crimes.
Israeli Military Intelligence Chief, Amos Yedlin,
claimed that Hamas is trying to obtain more
weapons and missiles, and that it successfully
tested an Iranian missile that could hit Tel
Aviv, 60 kilometers (27.28 Miles) away.
He added that during the war on Gaza earlier this
year, Hamas fighters fired shells that managed to
hit targets 45 kilometers (27.9 Miles) away.
Yedlin also claimed Hamas obtained Iranian
missiles, similar to those obtained by Hezbollah,
and that the missiles were likely smuggled through the tunnels.
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