The controversial report of the UN Human Rights Council fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict, headed by Judge Richard Goldstone, is available here. Following are key documents, analysis and updates concerning the mission and its report. Despite majority votes approving the report in the UN Human Rights Council (Oct. 16, 2009) and General Assembly (Nov. 5, 2009), the document has to date failed to win support from the world's democracies. The House Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. Congress, headed by the Democratic Party's Rep. Howard Berman. condemned the report's legal deficiencies and bias.
Articles and Reports
- Human Rights Watch, “Israel/Gaza: Cooperate With Goldstone Investigation,” April 14, 2009.
- Kenneth Roth, “Don't smear the messenger,” Jerusalem Post, August 25, 2009
- Richard Goldstone, "Justice in Gaza", New York Times, September 17, 2009
- Richard Goldstone, "Who's being unfair?", Jerusalem Post, September 21, 2009
- Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "The Operation in Gaza -- Factual and Legal Aspects", July 29, 2009
- Israel's "Initial Response to Report of the Fact Finding Mission on Gaza," Sept. 24, 2009
- UN Watch Legal Brief to Disqualify Christine Chinkin for Bias, August 20, 2009
- Trevor Norwitz, attorney, "Letter to Richard Goldstone," October 27, 2009
- Moshe Halbertal, leading Israeli peace activist, "The Goldstone Illusion," The New Republic, November 6, 2009
- David Matas, "The Goldstone Report: Stone or Gold?", December 8, 2009
- Peter Berkowitz, "Blaming Israel First," The Weekly Standard, January 18, 2010
- Alan Dershowitz, "The Case Against the Goldstone Report: A Study in Evidentiary Bias," January 26, 2010
- Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "Gaza Operation Investigates: an Update," Janurary 29, 20
- Asa Kasher, "A Moral Evaluation of the Gaza War - Operation Cast Lead," February 4, 2010
- En Francais: “Une analyse critique du rapport Goldstone,” Revue Controverses No. 13, Contributions par Shmuel Trigano, Anne Lifsitz-Krams, Jacques et Stéphanie Amar, Jean Pierre Bensimon, et Malka Marcovich.
- Hillel Neuer and Marissa Cramer, “A case study in UN hypocrisy,” National Post, July 17, 2009
- Yagil Henkin, "When everything is a crime", AISS, August 13th, 2009
- Irwin Cotler, “The Goldstone Mission—Tainted to the Core (Part I),” Jerusalem Post, Aug. 16, 2009
- Irwin Cotler, “The Goldstone Mission—Tainted to the Core (Part II),” Jerusalem Post, Aug. 18, 2009
- Hillel Neuer, “Ends Justify the Means?”, UN Watch blog, August 27, 2009
- Gerald Steinberg, “Isolating Israel through language of human rights,” Jerusalem Post, August 31, 2009
- NGO Monitor, "The Goldstone 'Fact Finding' Mission and the Role of Political NGOs," Sept. 7, 2009
- The Economist, "Goldstone on Gaza: Opportunity missed", September 17, 2009
- David Harris, "The Goldstone Report: Three Strikes and You're Out!," September 18, 2009
- Jonathan Halevi, "How the Goldstone Commission understated the Hamas threat to Palestinian civilians", ICA - Jerusalem Center, September 18, 2009
- Jackson Diehl, "Israel's Gaza Vindication", Washington Post, September 21, 2009
- Alan Dershowitz, "The Goldstone report is a barrier to peace", Jerusalem Post, September 22, 2009
- Jeffrey Robbins, "Geopolitics, human rights and Israel", Boston Globe, September 23, 2009
- Michael Oren, "UN report a victory for terror", Boston Globe, September 24, 2009
- Asa Kasher, "Operation Cast Lead and the ethics of a just war", Azure, September, 2009
- Ehud Barak, "At the UN, terrorism pays", Wall Street Journal, September 25, 2009
- Jim Molan, "UN's bias binds at Gaza", The Australian, October 2, 2009
UN Watch Request to Disqualify Christine Chinkin Due to Bias
- UN Watch Statement at Goldstone Mission meeting with NGOs, May 7, 2009
- Reports on initial UN Watch Petition to Disqualify Christine Chinkin in Agence France Presse and Deutsche Presse Agentur, July 7, 2009
- 28-page PDF: UN Watch Legal Brief to Disqualify Christine Chinkin, August 20, 2009
- Goldstone inquiry rejects ’so-called petition of UN Watch’; denies mission is quasi-judicial, August 25, 2009
Background: Special Sessions and Inquiries of the UN Human Rights Council
In the three years since the UN Human Rights Council was established in June 2006, the 47-nation body—dominated by a controlling majority that includes China, Cuba and Saudi Arabia—has convened more emergency “special sessions” on Israel than on the rest of the world combined. These sessions, each initiated by the Arab and Islamic blocs, consistently condemned Israel for responding to cross-border attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah, yet said nothing about the attacks by both Iranian-sponsored terrorist groups, thereby legitimizing their actions and granting them effective immunity and impunity. Several of the sessions, including those of July, August, and November 2006, created “fact-finding missions” that declared Israel guilty from the start. The European Union, Canada and other democracies refused to support these measures on account of their being one-sided.
Nearly three decades ago, Professor Thomas M. Franck, the eminent NYU scholar and former president of the American Society of International Law, who recently passed away, lamented the emergence of this U.N. pattern in his authoritative article on procedural due process in human rights fact-finding by international agencies. Referring to a 1968 General Assembly resolution that had taken it for granted “that Israel was in breach of its international obligations,” Prof. Franck criticized the creation of a fact-finding mission whose mandate included “conclusory language that palpably interfered with the integrity of the fact-finding process by violating the essential line between political assumptions and issues to be impartially determined.” Prof. Franck’s evaluation of such resolutions neatly summarizes the worth of the S-9/1 mandate: “A fact-finding group created by terms of reference that seek to direct its conclusions is essentially a waste of time. Its findings, at most, will reassure those whose minds are already made up.”
In total, from its regular and special sessions, the Council has devoted more than three quarters of all its country censures to one country: Israel. By focusing the international spotlight on Israel, the collective strategy of Council members like China, Russia, Egypt, Pakistan, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia—supported by observer states like Iran, Syria, and Zimbabwe—is to shield their own crimes from scrutiny. Because they hold an automatic majority of approximately 30 out of 47 member states, the strategy is successful.
January 12, 2009: Arab and Islamic Blocs Convene Special Session, Declare Israel Guilty of “Massive Violations”
Following the pattern and practice described above, on 12 January 2009—at the initiative of Egypt on behalf of the Arab and African Groups, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and Cuba for the Non-Aligned Movement, the Council met in special session on the situation in Gaza. It adopted Resolution S-9/1, “strongly condemn[ing]” Israel as being guilty of “massive violations,” and calling for an “urgent, independent, international fact-finding mission,” to be appointed by the Council president, in order to document this predetermined guilt.
January 12, 2009: Democracies Oppose Biased Mandate
The Council’s leading democracies rejected the mandate as one-sided and refused to support the resolution. In a statement on behalf of all member states of the European Union, Germany said that, “Unfortunately, and despite the best efforts of the European Union, and unlike Security Council Resolution 1860, the resolution before us today, and particularly its follow-up [i.e., the mandate of the Fact-Finding Mission] addresses only one side of the conflict. We also regret that some paragraphs use legal terms with very specific meaning without full evidence of whether those definitions are met.” Canada said that the resolution “failed to clearly recognize that rocket fire on Israel led to the current crisis,” and used “unnecessary, unhelpful and inflammatory language.” Japan noted that despite last-minute amendments, “it is regrettable that we have to say the resolution is not yet fully balanced.” Similarly, Switzerland, which in the past had supported certain Arab-sponsored condemnations of Israel at the Council, cited the resolution’s failure to address allegations concerning all sides as the grounds for its refusal to support the text.
February 2009: International Figures Refuse to Join Mission, Citing One-Sided Mandate
Shortly after the session, the Council president held political negotiations with the five regional groups, as well as with “the concerned parties,” although apparently this did not include Israel. Several international personalities were approached to head the Mission but declined, due to its one-sided mandate. Even former UN rights chief Mary Robinson, a harsh critic of Israel who had participated in similar fact-finding missions created by the now-defunct Human Rights Commission, refused. “Unfortunately, the Human Rights Council passed a resolution seeking a fact-finding mission to only look at what Israel had done,” said Robinson, “and I don’t think that’s a human rights approach.” Robinson said that “the resolution is not balanced because it focuses on what Israel did, without calling to investigate the launching of rockets by Hamas. Unfortunately, this is a practice of the Council: adopting resolutions guided not by human rights but by politics. This is very regrettable.”
March 26, 2009: Democracies Again Criticize Mandate at March Session
On 26 March 2009, at the 10th session of the Human Rights Council, the Arab and Islamic blocs sponsored draft resolution L. 37 to condemn Israel for failure to implement Resolution S-9/1. However, the major democracies once again criticized the one-sided mandate of S-9/1. Although as a matter of principle the European Union’s practice had been to vote in favor of follow-up resolutions even in cases where it had refused to support the original resolution, in this case the European Union acted differently. In a statement on behalf of all its member states, the European Union noted that “the resolution only addressed one side of the conflict. This also applied to the dispatching of an independent international fact finding mission.” Moreover, the European Union was "not convinced that the fact finding mission dispatched by the Human Rights Council is the right means to do so, especially as concerns investigation of violations of international humanitarian law. Furthermore, we find its mandate as drafted by resolution S-9/1 unbalanced. The fact that it has to date not been possible to appoint the members of the mission confirms our doubts in this regard. We also wish to remind that there are international investigations going on under the leadership of the United Nations Secretary General and Israeli investigations into the matter. For these reasons, the EU will call for a vote on resolution L. 37 and will abstain." Canada said that S-9/1 “failed to clearly establish the responsibilities and obligations of all sides involved in the conflict. Therefore, Canada will vote no on this resolution.”
April 3, 2009: Council President Announces Goldstone Mission
Finally, on 3 April 2009, pursuant to Resolution S-9/1, then Council President Martin Uhomoibhi, the Nigerian ambassador in Geneva, announced the formation of the Mission: Justice Richard Goldstone as the head, together with members Prof. Christine Chinkin, Ms. Hina Jilani, and Col. Desmond Travers. At a press conference in which he implicitly acknowledged that the original mandate was one-sided, the Council president also announced new terms of reference for the Mission: “[T]o investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after.” However, he also suggested that the purpose of examining Palestinian violations would be strictly for the purpose of assessing the degree of Israeli guilt, as per the focus of the original mandate. The initial title of the Mission included reference to the Resolution S-9/1 mandate, but this was later removed, in an apparent effort to obscure both the origin of the Mission and the destination of its report.
Sept. 15, 2009: Goldstone Holds Unprecedented New York Press Conference to Release Geneva-Based Report
In advance of the scheduled September 29th Human Rights Council presentation, Goldstone releases report at special press conference at UN headquarters in New York. No report of the Human Rights Council, which is based in Geneva, had ever been released in such manner. Observers begin to realize that Goldstone, aided by the UN, Human Rights Watch, and individuals and organizations funded by Geroge Soros, are waging an intense and unprecedented publicity campaign.
Sept. 29, 2009: Richard Goldstone Presents Report to Council
Judge Goldstone and his three fellow panelists present report on Tuesday, September 29, 2009, to the Human Rights Council plenary, under its permanent agenda item on alleged Israeli violations. Israeli terror victim Dr. Mirela Siderer confronts Goldstone in a plenary speech (click for video).
Oct. 2, 2009: At Request of Sponsors, Human Rights Council Defers Vote on Report to March 2010
At the request of Pakistan on behalf of the sponsors, all acting at the behest of the Palestinian Authority, the Council decides to defer consideration of the report until March 2010.
Oct. 13, 2009: About-Face: Palestinians Call Human Rights Council Special Session to Adopt Report Immediately
Following pressure by Hamas, the Palestinian Authority makes an about-face. Despite having requested and received a UN deferral of the report until March 2010, it suddenly demands an immediate special session to adopt the report.
Oct. 16, 2009: Human Rights Council Special Session Adopts Report
The Council adopts the report in a resolution that expressly condemns Israel but not Hamas. On behalf of UN Watch, Col. Richard Kemp delivers a powerful speech challenging the Goldstone Report, cited by newspapers around the world, and seen more than 200,000 times on YouTube (click for video).
Nov. 4, 2009: US Congress Adopts Resolution Slamming Goldstone Report for Bias
By a vote of 344 to 36, the U.S. Congress adopts House Resolution 867 slamming the Goldstone Report for bias. Goldstone and his supporters fail in their attempt to block the resolution.
Nov. 5, 2009: UN General Assembly Endorses Report, Calls on Ban Ki-moon to Transmit to Security Council; Democracies Refuse to Support Resolution
The report is endorsed by a special meeting of the UN General Assembly, in a bid to send it to the UN Security Council. But the resolution fails to garner support of the world's leading democracies. The U.S., Germany, Canada, Australia and 14 other countries vote No; another 44, many from EU, refuse to support the text and abstain.
 T.M. Franck & H.S. Fairley, “Procedural Due Process in Human Rights Fact-Finding by International Agencies” (1980) 74 American Journal of International Law 308 at 316.
 Id. at 316.
 UN Human Rights Council Resolution S-9/1 of 12 January 2009, entitled “The grave violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly due to the recent Israeli military attacks against the occupied Gaza Strip.”
 The resolution was adopted by a vote of 33 to 1, with 13 abstentions. In favour: Angola, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Uruguay, Zambia. Against: Canada. Abstaining: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
 Oral Statement by Germany on behalf of the European Union, 12 January 2009, 9th Special Session of the UNHRC, at http://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc/archive.asp?go=090112.
 Oral Statement by Canada, 12 January 2009, 9th Special Session of the UNHRC,
 Oral Statement by Japan, 12 January 2009, 9th Special Session of the UNHRC,
 Oral Statement by Switzerland, 12 January 2009, 9th Special Session of the UNHRC,
 See statement by Rolando Gomez, spokesman for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, at January 13, 2009 press briefing of the United Nations Office at Geneva, at http://www.unog.ch/80256EDD006B9C2E/(httpNewsByYear_en)/7EA09DD87688F5E4C125753D00488ED5?OpenDocument.
 A. Jourdan, “Le juge Goldstone va conduire l’enquête sur la bande de Gaza,” Tribune de Genève, April 6, 2009 (“Une mission que plusieurs personnalités, dont l’ancien président finlandais Martti Ahtisaari et l’ancien haut-commissaire de l’ONU pour les droits de l’homme Mary Robinson, ont refusé); “L’ONU charge R. Goldstone d’enquêter sur d’éventuels crimes de guerre à Gaza,” Agence France Presse, April 3, 2009.
 Interview with Democracy Now, March 9, 2009, at http://www.democracynow.org/2009/3/9/fmr_irish_president_mary_robinson_joins.
 A. Mounier-Kuhn, “Ancienne haut-commissaire aux Droits de l’homme Mary Robinson commente les dossiers les chauds de ce début d’année,” Le Temps, Feb. 4, 2009.
 Explanation of Vote on L. 37 by Germany on behalf of the European Union, 26 March 2009, 10th Session of the UNHRC, at http://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc/archive.asp?go=090326#pm.
 Explanation of Vote on L. 37 by Canada, 26 March 2009, 10th Session of the UNHRC, at http://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc/archive.asp?go=090326#pm.
 The question of bias has also been raised regarding Justice Goldstone’s own joint statement during the January war, in which he described himself as being “shocked to the core.” See, e.g., I. Cotler, “The Goldstone Mission—Tainted to the Core (Part I),” The Jerusalem Post, Aug. 16. 2009, http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1249418620191&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull and I. Cotler, “The Goldstone Mission—Tainted to the Core (Part II),” The Jerusalem Post, Aug. 18, 2009, http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1249418640232&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull. This separate question is not addressed here. Nor do we address the Mission’s curious decision to hold public hearings, which it acknowledged was without precedent, involving witnesses in Gaza speaking under the watchful eye of the Hamas regime. (Israeli witnesses, selected by the Goldstone Mission, were heard in Geneva.) During a period when U.N. human rights diplomats in Geneva failed to convene for the state killing of protesters in Iran and China, or for any other victims, they did assemble on July 16 and 17, 2009 to attend reruns of the Gaza testimony at an official screening organized by the Goldstone Mission. See UN Watch blog, “U.N. diplomats watch Gaza reruns, no time for victims in China and Iran,” July 16, 2009, at http://blog.unwatch.org/?p=446; see also Hillel Neuer and Marissa Cramer, “A case study in UN hypocrisy,” National Post, July 17, 2009, http://www.unwatch.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=bdKKISNqEmG&b=1319279&ct=7189893.
 This does not address the legality of the president’s purported amendments to the Mission’s mandate, which are clearly ultra vires, null and void. Nothing in the Charter, resolutions or rules of the United Nations gives the Human Rights Council president the power to amend a Council resolution, any more than the House Speaker in the U.S. can personally change a statute of Congress. In the case here, the Council’s S-9/1 mandate deliberately imposed limits ratione personae (actions by Israel) and ratione loci (in Palestinian territories) and does not allow for a full examination of all of the aspects of the conflict, nor does it permit consideration of the conduct of all parties. Similar limits applied to and were duly noted by the Report of the 2006 Commission of Inquiry on Lebanon, established by the Council under its equally one-sided Resolution S-2/1, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/specialsession/A.HRC.3.2.pdf. That Commission noted as follows: “[T]aking into consideration the express limitations of its mandate, the Commission is not entitled, even if it had wished, to construe it as equally authorizing the investigation of the actions by Hezbollah in Israel. To do so would exceed the Commission’s interpretative function and would be to usurp the Council’s powers.” Id., at par. 7. The same applies to the Goldstone Mission and the S-9/1 mandate, mutatis mutandis. What is most important to understand is that regardless of President Uhomoibhi’s purported amendments, the Goldstone Mission’s report was submitted to, treated, and followed up by the Council exclusively under the original and one-sided terms of Resolution S-9/1.
 The Council president: “The ultimate purpose of the Council will not be served if that mandate does not allow for the clear establishment of an independent and impartial fact-finding mission; a mission that will gain the credibility of all sides, and that will be truly independent, and will produce and report that is fair, that is balanced and that is impartial; that will address the question of proportionality.... You cannot address proportionality in a vacuum.” See “Near verbatim transcript of press conference by the President of the Human Rights Council, Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi (Nigeria) and Justice Richard J. Goldstone on the announcement of the Human Rights Council fact-finding mission on the conflict in the Gaza Strip,” Geneva, 3 April 2009, at http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/specialsession/9/docs/PC_Transcript_3_April.doc. The clear implication is that the true object of the Mission remains that of assessing solely Israel’s guilt—and that any examination of Palestinian violations or Israeli suffering would not be an object or value in itself, but only a necessary means for examining the proportionality of Israeli actions.
 The initial title was “International Independent Fact-Finding Mission Established Pursuant to Resolution S-9/1 of the Human Rights Council.” See UN press release, “Richard J. Goldstone Appointed to Lead Human Rights Council Fact-Finding Mission on Gaza Conflict, 3 April 2009, at http://www.unhchr.ch/huricane/huricane.nsf/view01/2796E2CA43CA4D94C125758D002F8D25?opendocument.
UN Watch Blog Postings
August 30, 2009
Following is the August 25, 2009 statement sent by the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict to The Jewish Chronicle of London, in response to UN Watch’s legal brief demanding the disqualification of Christine Chinkin:
“The allegation by UN Watch that Professor Christine Chinkin is disqualified from being a member of the UN Fact Finding Mission is based solely on the contents of a public letter published on 11 January 2009 in the London Sunday Times. The letter condemns in clear terms the firing of rockets by Hamas and suicide bombings. It also states that the military attacks by Israel were unlawful and contrary to the provisions of international law and, in particular, the Charter of the United Nations. More specifically, the signatories to the letter state that the response by Israel was not commensurate with the deaths caused by the Hamas rocket fire. A copy of the letter is attached. Continue reading ‘U.N. Goldstone inquiry rejects ’so-called petition of UN Watch’; denies mission is quasi-judicial’
August 27, 2009
As he did in May, Human Rights Watch’s Kenneth Roth is once again advocating for the indefensible UN Human Rights Council “fact-finding” mission on Gaza, in a Jerusalem Post op-ed, without properly informing readers that its head, Judge Richard Goldstone, was until recently a board member of his organization as well as an active defender of its controversial statements on Israel. Last time, this affiliation was carefully buried at the end amid a jumble of others; this time it’s not even mentioned. Continue reading ‘Human Rights Watch’s Ken Roth: Ends Justify the Means?’
August 20, 2009
The U.N. fact-finding mission into alleged violations in the recent Gaza conflict is being asked to disqualify London School of Economics law professor Christine Chinkin, over prior statements she made “categorically rejecting” Israel’s right to self-defence against Hamas rocket attacks, and accusing Israel of “aggression” and “prima facie war crimes.” A 28-page legal brief was filed today by the Geneva-based monitoring group UN Watch.
“International law and the rules of due process require fact-finders in the human rights field to be impartial,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch and an international lawyer, “and that means being free of any commitment to a preconceived outcome.” Continue reading ‘LSE Law Professor Urged to Step Down from U.N Gaza Inquiry over Bias’
August 18, 2009
Folks are asking UN Watch when we’ll see the report of the Goldstone Fact-Finding Mission on Gaza. Answer: “The Goldstone report will be made available next month, prior to the Human Rights Council’s next session, which starts on 14 September,” announced the U.N. recently in New York. Continue reading ‘U.N. announces: Goldstone report to be released in September’
July 17, 2009
(National Post of Canada, op-ed page, July 17, 2009)
A case study in U.N. hypocrisy
By Hillel Neuer and Marissa Cramer
Last week, not for the first time, the world witnessed state-sanctioned violence against protesters in Iran and China. Yet the United Nations was instead focused on Israel, due to unprecedented hearings held by a UN inquiry into the Gaza conflict of six months ago. This was precisely the goal of the body that organized the inquiry, the discredited UN Human Rights Council. Continue reading ‘Riots in China. Protests in Iran. UN rights council talks about … Israel’
July 16, 2009
The diplomats at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva have simply not found any time this summer to help the peaceful protesters being gunned down by state-sponsored forces in Iran and China.
The human rights chambers are effectively mothballed until the next mandatory session in September. Neda got shot? Uighurs are being slaughtered on the streets? Sorry, I’ve got a lunch-time appointment for water-skiing in Lake Geneva with two of my buddies from the Non-Aligned Movement. Continue reading ‘U.N. diplomats watch Gaza reruns, no time for victims in China and Iran’
July 13, 2009
On Saturday, Justice Richard Goldstone of the U.N. fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict gave an interview with Israel TV’s Channel 1 news, hosted by Yaacov Achimeir. Click here for video, or see extract below:
Interviewer: Mr. Justice Goldstone, how do you explain that during the last seven or eight years of Palestinian shelling of cities, of towns in the southern part of Israel, [that] no UN commission of inquiry was established? Why is that? Continue reading ‘Goldstone defends Christine Chinkin from bias charge’
July 7, 2009
The hearings in Geneva for Goldstone’s Gaza fact-finding mission came to a close today. The final speaker, Michael Newton, professor of the practice of law at Vanderbilt University and expert in accountability in the practice of hostilities, spoke about the application of international law, especially the Geneva Conventions, to both state and non-state actors during combat.
Click here for webcast (requires Real Player).
Continue reading ‘International law expert testifies before Goldstone’s Gaza inquiry team’
July 7, 2009
During the afternoon hearings of the Goldstone Gaza fact-finding mission at the U.N. in Geneva today, Lt. Col. Raymond Lane, chief instructor in the Irish Defense Forces School, testified on weapons use by Hamas and Israel. Reuters reports here on his testimony, but misrepresents or takes out of context his statements on Israel’s use of certain weapons, as we note further on.
Click here for webcast (requires Real Player).
Continue reading ‘Military expert testifies on weapons use by Hamas, Israel at Goldstone’s Gaza hearings’
July 7, 2009
At the U.N. in Geneva this morning, the Goldstone fact-finding mission into the Gaza war continued to hear from Palestinian experts. They were Ms. Sahar Francis, director of the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association; Mr. Majd Bader of the Public Committee against Torture in Israel; Mr. Fadi Qwasmi, a lawyer representing members of the Palestine Legislative Council; and Mr. Salehaldin Musa of the Palestinian independent commission for human rights.
Click here for webcast.
Continue reading ‘Goldstone Gaza probe continues to hear from Palestinian experts’
July 6, 2009
The U.N. fact-finding mission on Gaza, headed by Judge Richard Goldstone, continued hearings in Geneva this afternoon. While the morning session focused on Israeli victims of Hamas terror, the afternoon was devoted to pro-Palestinian witnesses and experts from Israel and the West Bank. They were Shawan Jabarin, head of Al-Haq’s Legal Research and Advocacy Department, Mohammad Srour, former mayor of a West Bank town who testified together with Israeli activist Jonathan Pollak, and Mr. Shir Hever of the Alternative Information Center. The mission had previously heard from Gazan victims of the conflict during its travel to the region.
Click here for the webcast.
Continue reading ‘West Bank and Israeli Palestinians testify before Goldstone mission’
July 6, 2009
This morning the U.N. fact-finding mission into the Gaza conflict, headed by international prosecutor Judge Richard Goldstone, commenced its first day of hearings in Geneva, featuring Israeli victims of Hamas terror. The mission had previously traveled to Gaza to hear from Palestinian victims of the conflict.
Click here for the webcast.
Continue reading ‘Goldstone’s Gaza fact-finding mission hears from Israeli victims’
July 6, 2009
Noam Shalit, father of Israel captive Gilad Shalit, was in Geneva today to deliver the powerful testimony below to the U.N. fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict. Continue reading ‘Father of Israeli captive Gilad Shalit addresses Gazans through U.N. testimony’
July 5, 2009
UN Watch speech to the UN Human Rights Council’s 11th session, June 15, 2009, Agenda Item 7 on the “Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories,” delivered by Abigail Chernick. While on April 3, 2009, the UNHRC president purported to give new terms of reference to Judge Richard Goldstone’s fact-finding mission, the ensuing council session in June failed to take up UN Watch’s challenge (below) to ratify the purported changes, thereby legally preserving intact the original one-sided mandate that pre-determined Israel’s guilt. Continue reading ‘U.N. Human Rights Council fails to ratify changes to Goldstone Mission’
July 5, 2009
Judge Richard Goldstone’s fact finding mission on Gaza will hold hearings in Geneva this week. Following was our interactive dialogue with his team in May. As can be seen, regrettably our questions were never really answered. And Prof. Christine Chinkin did not tell the truth when she denied already having pronounced herself on the very matter the mission is supposed to determine…Continue reading ‘Why Goldstone Mission’s Christine Chinkin must resign’
July 2, 2009
With hearings to be held in Geneva next week by the UN Human Rights Council inquiry into the Israel-Gaza war, headed by Judge Richard Goldstone, it is interesting to recall that former UN rights chief Mary Robinson, as well as former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari, were among the many international personalities that refused U.N. offers to head the mission. Continue reading ‘Why Mary Robinson rejected the mandate accepted by Judge Goldstone’
July 1, 2009
The U.N. Human Rights Council’s “fact-finding mission” on Gaza will next week hold hearings in Geneva, Judge Goldstone presiding. Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz makes a powerful case that the one-sided mandate established by the Arab-controlled council turns the inquiry into a kangaroo court.
Meanwhile, the U.N. appears to be tightly controlling the witness list. With only 6 days left, no information has been published for how witnesses can register. UN Watch’s repeated queries to the mission secretariat on this have so far gone unanswered.
June 5, 2009
The only reason that the UN Human Rights Council chose Richard Falk to be its permanent investigator of “Israel’s violations of the bases and principles of international law,” over other academics with similar views, was because Falk is Jewish. The Arab and Islamic states were beside themselves with glee at the added impact his reports would have. Continue reading ‘Report: Anti-Israel U.N. Investigator May Not be Jewish After All’
March 26, 2009
March 26, 2009 – The following countries protested the one-sided nature of the UN Human Rights Council’s latest “Fact Finding Mission” on Gaza, in plenary statements explaining their refusal to support draft resolution L. 37 (”Follow-up to Resolution S-9/1 on the grave violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly due to the recent Israeli military attacks against the occupied Gaza Strip”): Continue reading ‘E.U., Canada and Japan oppose mandate of UN “fact-finding” mission’