5 November 2009 The General Assembly today endorsed the report of the United Nations investigation which found that both Israeli forces and Palestinian militants were guilty of serious human rights violations during the conflict in the Gaza Strip at the start of the year.
After two days of debate in the Assembly, at UN Headquarters in New York, 114 Member States voted in favour of a resolution endorsing the report’s findings and its recommendations for further action. Eighteen States voted against the resolution and another 44 countries abstained.
The probe, led by Justice Richard Goldstone, a former war crimes prosecutor at the UN war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, found that both sides committed serious war crimes and breaches of humanitarian law, possibly amounting to crimes against humanity, during the conflict in December 2008 and January 2009.
The four-member fact-finding team called for a number of measures, including the referral of the report to the Security Council, since neither the Israeli Government nor the responsible Palestinian authorities have so far carried out any credible investigations into alleged violations.
General Assembly President Ali Treki, speaking to journalists after the resolution was adopted, said that “this vote is an important declaration against impunity. It is a call for justice and accountability.”
Mr. Treki called on all concerned to devote themselves to implementing the contents of the resolution, which asks both the Israelis and Palestinians to carry out independent inquiries.
“Without justice, there can be no progress towards peace. A human being should be treated as a human being, regardless of his or her religion, race or nationality.”
The fact-finding mission was set up earlier this year at the request of the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council.
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