Goldstone challenges US on Israel war crimes report / VIDEO

Goldstone challenged US to justify its charge that the Isreal war crimes findings on Gaza offensive were flawed.

Goldstone challenges US on Israel war crimes report / VIDEO

South African judge Richard Goldstone challenged the United States on Thursday to justify its charge that the Isreal war crimes findings on Gaza offensive were flawed.

The UN report last month found that Israel "punished and terrorised" civilians in Gaza in a disproportionate attack in its three-week war on the territory earlier this year.

"I have yet to hear from the (Barack) Obama administration what the flaws in the report that they have identified are," South African former international war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone told Al-Jazeera television.

Israeli forces deliberately attacked civilians, failed to take precautions to minimize loss of civilian life and cited strong evidence Israeli forces committed "grave breaches" of the Geneva Convention, the 575-page report noted.

"I would be happy to respond to them, if and when I know what they are," added the jurist who led a fact-finding mission on the 22-day offensive that erupted on December 27, 2008, resulting nearly 1500 Palestinians were killed, a third of them women and children.

"The Obama administration joined our recommendation calling for full and good-faith investigations, both in Israel and in Gaza, but said that the report was flawed," he said.

Some 25 of the UN Human Rights Council's 47 members voted for a resolution endorsing the report last week. Six others, including the United States, voted against, while 16 either abstained or did not vote.

The firing of white phosphorous shells and the use of high explosive artillery shells were listed as "violations of humanitarian law."

"I've no doubt, many of the critics - the overwhelming majority of critics - have not read the report," he said, adding that the criticism had become personal.

The report was more sharply critical of Israel and only four paragraphs of a seven-page summary were devoted to Palestinian violations.

If either side failed to do that, the council should refer the matter to the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor in The Hague within six months, the report added.

Israel has rejected a cooperation with the Goldstone team or had not allowed it onto its territory.




Agencies

Last Mod: 22 Ekim 2009, 17:21
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