In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Gaza war crimes probe called for

Posted by seumasach on January 10, 2009


10th January, 2009

A high-ranking UN human rights official calls for an independent investigation into possible war crimes committed by Israeli’s in Gaza. 

Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, on Friday called for the investigation. She specifically referred to the killing of 30 Palestinian civilians in a home in central Gaza that was shelled by Israeli forces. 

“I am concerned with violations of international law. Incidents such as this must be investigated because they display elements of what could constitute war crimes,” Pillay, told Reuters. 

“There is an international obligation on the part of soldiers in their position to protect civilians, not to kill civilians indiscriminately in the first place, and when they do to make sure that they help the wounded,” Pillay said. “In this particular case these children were helpless and the soldiers were close by,” she said. 

Speaking earlier to a special session of the UN Human Rights Council held on the Gaza crisis, Pillay had said that Israel should be held accountable for any violations of international law. 

Pillay continued by noting that a large number of people, including children, had been killed or wounded in “Israel’s totally unacceptable strikes” against clearly marked UN facilities sheltering Gaza civilians. 

The UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1860 calling for an immediate cease-fire in the 14-day-old conflict and a withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza but Israel rejected the resolution and continued its offensive on Friday. 


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