UN Human Rights Council passes Gaza war crimes report | World| Breakings news and perspectives from around the globe | DW | 16.10.2009
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UN Human Rights Council passes Gaza war crimes report

The UN Human Rights Council has passed a resolution adopting a report by Justice Richard Goldstone accusing both Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas of committing war crimes in their conflict early this year.

Richard Goldstone

Justice Goldstone urged credible investigations

The council approved the resolution on Friday after two days of debate on the Goldstone report, which it had commissioned following the three-week conflict that Israel launched late last year in response to rocket fire from Gaza.

Israel called the UN Human Rights Council's endorsement an anti-Israeli "diplomatic farce," while the Palestinians welcomed it.

Both Israel and the United States have warned the report could jeopardize prospects for peace in the Middle East.

At the special session in Geneva, 25 of the UN body's members voted in favor of the resolution; six, including the United States and some European countries, voted against it and 11 abstained.

Report more critical of Israel than Hamas

Israel used disproportionate force and deliberately harmed Palestinian civilians, according to the report written by South African war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone and three other international experts, while Hamas fired rockets indiscriminately at Israeli civilians. Almost 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis died during the Dec. 27-Jan. 18 conflict.

The Goldstone report recommended that the UN Security Council refer the matter to the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague if the Israelis or Palestinians failed to investigate the alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity themselves in an objective and independent manner.

Both Israel and Hamas rejected the charges, but Israel, which had already dismissed the report as biased and flawed, announced it has launched an investigation.

db/dpa/REUTERS/AP/AFP
Editor: Rob Mudge

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