Ban briefed by head of UN rights probe into Gaza conflict

Damage caused by aerial bombardment to Gaza

20 May 2009 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was briefed today by the head of the independent team of investigators tasked by the United Nations Human Rights Council with examining alleged rights abuses and violations of international law during the recent Gaza conflict.

Mr. Ban’s meeting with Justice Richard Goldstone of South Africa took place in Geneva, where the Human Rights Council is based and where the Secretary-General today wrapped up a five-day trip that also took him to Bahrain.

During the meeting, which was also attended by members of Justice Goldstone’s team and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, Mr. Ban reiterated his support to the work of the mission.

The Secretary-General said he hoped the mission’s work would proceed smoothly with cooperation by the concerned parties and send a positive message to the international community about accountability, according to his spokesperson.

Speaking to reporters today, Justice Goldstone said he was “disappointed” that he had not received any positive response from the Israeli Government.

He said his wish was to visit southern Israel, go into Gaza “through the front door,” and also go to the West Bank, which is to be included in his mission.

The former prosecutor for International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda added that the mission was still in the planning stage, and that he would be holding a number of public hearings – hopefully in the region, but if that was not possible, then in Geneva.

Field work had to be completed by the end of June, he noted, and the team’s report will be handed over on 4 August.


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