UN to Probe War Crimes in Gaza

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  • A Palestinian woman, hoping to cross into Egypt, cries as she waits with others at the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip (8/12). REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

    A Palestinian woman, hoping to cross into Egypt, cries as she waits with others at the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip (8/12). REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

    TEMPO.CO, New York - The United Nations has appointed three experts to join an international commission that will probe possible human rights violations and war crimes by both opposing sides in the Gaza Strip.

    The three experts are British-Lebanese lawyer Amal Alamuddin, Canadian international law expert William Schabas, who will head the team, and Doudou Diene, senior human rights expert from Senegal.

    "The independent team will investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the context of the military operations conducted since June 13, 2014," said the UN in a statement as cited by Al Jazerra yesterday.

    Alamuddin later denied to join the team. "I am honored to have received the offer, but given existing commitments - including eight ongoing cases - unfortunately could not accept this role."

    Israel responded to the forming of the commission, dismissing the inquiry as a UN Human Rights Council "kangaroo court"while Hamas welcomed the investigation.

    "Hamas welcomes the decision to form an investigation committee into the war crimes committed by the occupation [of Israel] against Gaza and it urges that it begin work as soon as possible," said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.

    The commission will report its findings on March 2015 to the UN Human Rights Council. The fighting between Hamas and Israel has killed 1,938 Palestinians and 67 Israelis.

    Top UN human rights official Navi Pillay said on July 31 she believed Israel was deliberately violating international law in its military offensive in Gaza and that the world should hold Israel accountable for possible war crimes. "Israel has attacked homes, schools, hospitals, Gaza's only power plant and UN premises in apparent violation of the Geneva Conventions."

    Hamas has also violated international humanitarian law by firing rockets indiscriminately to Israel.

    On Monday, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed indirect talks mediated by Egypt to end the war. Israel and Palestine are currently on a 72-hour ceasefire.

    AL JAZEERA | ROSALINA