UNGA Considers Resolution to Support Goldstone Report

On 29 September 2009, Justice Goldstone presented the report from the UNHRC commissioned fact-finding mission in Gaza to the Human Rights Council. The report concluded that both Israel and Hamas were guilty of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity, and recommended that the Security Council require both parties to launch investigations into the perpetrators of these crimes within six months or be referred to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. The Council adopted a resolution supporting the report and asked the President of the General Assembly, Ali Trekki, asking the GA to consider the report. On 2 November 2009, Arab UN delegates began circulating a draft resolution that obliges Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to refer the report to the Security Council. This draft resolution is now under consideration by the General Assembly.

1. Endorsing Gaza war report, UN Human Rights Council condemns Israel
UN News Centre
16 October 2009

The Human Rights Council today strongly condemned a host of Israeli measures in the occupied Palestinian territory and called on both sides to implement the recommendations of a United Nations commission that found evidence that Israel and the Palestinians committed serious war crimes in the three-week Gaza war nine months ago.

In a resolution, adopted by 25 votes in favour, six against, and 11 abstentions, the Council recommended that the General Assembly consider the Goldstone report during the main part of its current session, requested Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to submit a report on the implementation of its recommendations to the Council in March, and condemned Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the commission. (…)

The Council demanded that Israel allow Palestinian citizens and worshippers unhindered access to their properties and religious sites in the occupied Palestinian territory, cease immediately all digging and excavations beneath and around the mosque, and refrain from any acts may endanger the structure or change the nature of Christian and Islamic holy sites.

It requested that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay report periodically on Israel’s implementation of its human rights obligations in and around East Jerusalem.

Read full article.

2. UN assembly draft urges action on Gaza “war crimes”
Louis Charbonneau
2 November 2009

Arab U.N. delegates circulated a draft resolution on Monday that would require Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to bring a U.N. report alleging war crimes in the Gaza Strip before the Security Council.

A special meeting of the 192-nation assembly on Wednesday will debate the U.N. report on the December-January war in the Gaza Strip and vote on the draft resolution. (…)

The Arab draft resolution, obtained by Reuters, says the assembly "requests the Secretary-General to transmit the report ... to the Security Council." It also urges Israel and the Palestinians to comply with the report's recommendations for launching investigations into allegations of war crimes.

The draft also tells Ban to report back to the assembly within three months on implementation of the resolution.

Arab and Western diplomats told Reuters there was little doubt a majority of the General Assembly would vote in favor of the Arab draft. But negotiations were underway as Arab delegates sought to persuade Western powers to back the text.

An Israeli official in New York condemned both the report and the assembly's discussion of it. "At a time when we are debating restarting peace talks, this is not helpful to anyone," said the official, who asked not to be identified.

Diplomats said the five veto-wielding permanent council members -- United States, Britain, France, Russia and China -- all agreed that there was no point in bringing the issue to the  Security Council, which meant it was unlikely the 15-nation panel would do anything with the Goldstone report. (…)

Read the full article.

View the text of the draft resolution now before the UN General Assembly.