FIDH welcomes the conclusions of the Goldstone fact-finding mission

The fact-finding mission headed by Justice Goldstone mandated by the UN Human Rights Council in January 2009 "to 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" released its report today.

According to the first conclusions of the report, it is established that Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity, during its December 27-January 18 military operations in the Gaza Strip.
The commission also concludes that there is evidence that Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity, as well, by firing rockets into southern Israel.

FIDH and its member organizations in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territory have constantly reaffirmed that the grave human rights violations should not remain unpunished and those responsible for their perpetration should be prosecuted.

FIDH recalls that international law requires that every state investigates serious human rights violations that are committed by bodies or persons acting on its behalf and prosecutes those responsible for the violations; therefore it welcomes the request by the Goldstone Commission that both parties conduct independent, impartial and transparent investigations within 6 months.

Nevertheless, FIDH recalls that if the parties to the conflict fail in their obligation to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the violations, then it is necessary to support the establishment of international justice mechanisms that will ensure the process of accountability, through filing complaints based on the principle of universal jurisdiction and by contributing to the International Criminal Court Office of the Prosecutor’s preliminary analyses and investigations, by submitting communications providing information on the crimes perpetrated during Operation Cast Lead.

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