HRN calls upon the General Assembly and the Security Council to take action to overcome impunity of human rights violations
Gaza: Human Rights Now calls upon the General Assembly and the Security Council to take action to overcome impunity of human rights violations
Human Rights Now
Two and a half years have passed since the Gaza conflict which lasted from December 27th, 2008 to January 18th, 2009. During the conflict over 1400 people, including many civilians, were killed.
To date, although various investigations have been conducted and many resolutions have been adopted by the United Nations (UN), justice for victims of gross violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law has yet to be realized. Those who are responsible have not been prosecuted.
Considering the serious limitations of investigations by domestic institutions, Human Rights Now (HRN), a Tokyo-based international human rights NGO, deems it crucial for all parties concerned, including the UN, to take concrete and effective measures in a timely manner to realize justice, ensure reparations for victims and stop impunity.
It is evident that both sides of the conflict have failed to conduct independent domestic investigations that are prompt, effective, and in conformity with international law. They also failed to prosecute the perpetrators of crimes under international law. Under such a condition, the International Criminal Court (ICC) must inevitably play its role to realize the victims’ legitimate rights.
In 2009, the Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (the Goldstone Report) was published. Based upon this report, the General Assembly adopted the Resolution calling upon Israel and the Palestinian side “within a period of three months, to undertake investigations that are independent, credible and in conformity with international standards into the serious violations of international humanitarian and international human rights law reported by the Fact-Finding Mission”. Notwithstanding the extension of the deadline, neither Israel nor the Palestinian side has implemented this Resolution.
As HRN suggested in its previous statement, there remain great concerns as to the publics access to Israel’s investigations, the participation of the victims and witnesses, the targets of the investigations and so forth.
The Goldstone Report concluded that military operations by Israel were deliberately disproportionate attacks against the civilian population and that the primary responsibility for those military actions lies with those who designed, planned, ordered and controlled the operations. However, no legal investigations against such persons have been conducted in Israel.
As the Report of the UN Committee of Independent Experts established by the Human Rights Council shows, it is abundantly clear that neither Israel nor the Palestinian side has the capacity or willingness for such an investigation.. Consequently, the 16th session of the Human Rights Council recommended the 66th session of the General Assembly to submit the Report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza conflict to the Security Council, with the recommendation that the Security Council should refer the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, in pursuant with Article 13 (b) of the Rome Statute.
The HRN calls upon the General Assembly to take a decisive role as requested by the Human Rights Council. It also calls upon the Security Council to refer the situation to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court pursuant to Article 13(b) of the Rome Statute.
The persisting impunity of grave violations of international humanitarian and human rights law makes a peaceful and permanent settlement of the conflict more difficult. One of the most important things to promote peace is to restore and respect the human rights of the people living in these areas and to promote peace in a fair manner in accordance with rules under international law.
We call upon the United Nations Secretary General, members of the Security Council and all of the UN member States to realize the rule of law, and play a constant role in the fight against impunity.