Human Rights Organisations Call on International Community to Pursue Accountability at UN General Assembly

Press release

The letters were drafted on the occasion of this year’s session of the UN General Assembly. The letters relate to the pursuit of accountability for victims of international crimes and the follow up to the Report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict.

To date, the victims of crimes under international law committed by all sides in the context of Israel’s offensive on the Gaza Strip from 27 December 2009 to 18 January 2009 have not received justice, truth or reparations. It is unambiguously clear that all sides have failed to conduct domestic investigations that are prompt, effective, independent and in conformity with international law, and failed to prosecute suspected perpetrators. This failure has been confirmed by national and international human rights organizations, as well as the UN Committee of Independent Experts established by the Human Rights Council.

Consequently, the 16th session of the Human Rights Council recommended that the forthcoming session of the General Assembly submit the Report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict to the Security Council, with the recommendation that the Security Council refer the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, pursuant to Article 13(b) of the Rome Statute.

The two-year process triggered by the Report of the Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict must be allowed to reach its full legal conclusion. The failure to administer justice domestically means that victims’ rights can only be upheld through international justice mechanisms, and most appropriately the International Criminal Court.

The letters note recognition of Palestine’s statehood is set to become a centre-point of diplomatic discussion at the upcoming General Assembly. However, the pursuit of accountability in no way conflicts with this discussion. Accountability for crimes under international law applies at all times, and to all peoples, regardless of any other criteria.

Indeed, at such a time, it is imperative that the international community sends the clear and unambiguous message that accountability for crimes under international law will be pursued, irrespective of any political considerations.

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